Six dead, 23 injured in blaze at Tamil Nadu firework unit

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At least six persons were killed and 23 injured in a fire accident at a fireworks factory in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar district. The incident happened on Friday afternoon and rescue operations are still underway by the district fire and rescue services personnel. According to PTI, at least six persons have been confirmed dead in the accident. Of the 23 injured admitted at the Government Hospital, Sattur, several persons have critical injuries. It is feared that the death toll might increase over the course of the rescue efforts, the office of the Sattur Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) told TNM.

Several workers are still trapped in the blaze in the Sree Mariyammal fireworks factory located in Acchankulam village near Elayirampannai. Ten fire fighting units from various locations have been rushed to the spot to douse the fire in the factory at Acchankulam village. The police are investigating the cause behind the blaze and are ascertaining how the fire started inside the factory. Meanwhile, a team of policemen are on the lookout for the owner of the factory.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday, expressed his condolences and tweeted that his thoughts are with the bereaved families. He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the families of the victims and Rs 50,000 each to those critically injured. "Fire at a firecracker factory in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu is saddening. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. I hope those injured recover soon. Authorities are working on the ground to assist those affected: PM," he tweeted.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami also expressed grief at the incident and requested that all fireworks units follow necessary precautions while employing workers. He also announced a compensation of Rs 3 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh each to those seriously injured. 

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi expressed his condolences to the victims of the accident. “Heartfelt condolences to the victims of the firecracker factory fire in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu. It’s heart wrenching to think of those still trapped inside. I appeal to the state government to provide immediate rescue, support & relief,” he tweeted.

In October, at least five persons were killed in a similar accident at a firework manufacturing unit near Madurai. The blaze was said to have started due to abrasion of chemicals inside the factory, which was located around 65 kilometres from Madurai city. Over 50 personnel from the fire and rescue services department were pressed to fight the fire and rescue the workers trapped inside the unit.

(With PTI inputs. This is a developing story)