Chennai: At least 37 people were killed and 45 others injured in a fire at a firecracker factory in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu. The mishap happened at the Om Cracker factory in Mudalipetti, near Sivakasi on Wednesday afternoon.
Nineteen dead bodies were taken to Sivakasi Government Hospital while 18 dead bodies were sent to Saatur Government Hospital. Some of the injured people have been admitted yo to Sivakasi Government Hospital while those seriously injured have been taken to Rajaji Government hospital in Madurai which is 75 kms away from Sivakasi.
Around 300 people were trapped inside the factory when the fire broke out but most of them managed to come out of the factory. The factory is about nine kms from Sivakasi, the biggest fireworks manufacturing hub in the country.
Police and fire brigade personnel fear that the large amount of firecrackers kept inside the factory could again catch fire.
The factory had 40 rooms with several of them acting as godowns for firecrackers and chemicals. All the rooms caught fire, but since all the rooms were on ground floor so most of the workers managed to escape.
"These are times ahead of Deepavali. So activities go on at breakneck speed in the cracker units," Virudhunagar District Superintendent of Police Najmul Hoda said.
The fire broke out when fancy cracker items were being made at the factory. Ten fire tenders were sent to douse the fire, and the blaze was brought under control after more than two and a half hours.
Initially the police and fire brigade personnel did not enter the building due to heavy smoke. They also feared that the large amount of firecrackers kept inside the factory could again catch fire.
Fire officials said due to the variety of chemicals used in pyrotechnics crackers, there was thick and suffocating smoke, which made the task difficult for fire fighters.
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