A fire accident at a godown in the cracker town of Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu on Thursday afternoon led to the death of nine people said local police. The accident took place when the firecrackers were being transported in a lorry. Dozens more were injured during the mishap.
The death toll in the incident was expected to rise, since some of the injured were said to be in serious condition. At least 20 vehicles parked near the godown have been damaged by the blast. A hospital near the spot of the incident has also borne some of the brunt of the accident.
The casualties have been identified as:
Baskar, Sornakumari, Devi, Kamarchi, Pushphalakshmi, Valarmathi, Janakiraman, Ganeshan, Shanmugaraj.
Patients in the hospital were immediately evacuated and the fire was also brought under control by the firefighters. The continous explosion of the crackers reportedly made the job of the firefighters a little more difficult.
“The deaths occurred due to suffocation as result of excess fumes and not because of any blast”, said District Collector A Sivagnanam.
The authorities said the cracker consignment was mishandled by the workers who were offloading it. The administration, the Collector said, has been carrying out safety drills in the district, about 500 km from Chennai, to prevent such mishaps.
PMK chief Anbumani Ramadoss has demanded a probe into the fire. He said “How did officials allow a cracker outlet near a scan centre? A sitting judge should probe this”
Sivakasi is famous for its cracker factories and incidents like these come to light every year.