At least 19 persons were killed, over 30 injured after an explosion rocked a firecracker factory in India’s Tamil Nadu State.
The explosion took place around 1:30pm in near Sivakasi in the Virudhunagar district on Friday, around 500 kilometres from state capital Chennai.
PTI news agency reported that 10 fire fighting units rushed to the spot to douse the fire.
“Friction during mixing of chemicals appears to have caused the explosion,” fire fighting officials told local media.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the blast.
“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,” he tweeted.
Safety inside the fireworks manufacturing units in and around Sivakasi, the fireworks capital of the country, has been a concern with activists alleging that the authorities did not have adequate measures in place to prevent such incidents.
Virudhunagar district has over 1,100 fireworks manufacturing units with Sivakasi accounting for over 95 per cent of them.