At least seven people have died in an explosion at a fireworks factory at Kurungudi village in Kattumannarkoil in Tamil Nadu on Friday morning.
According to an NDTV report, the owner of the factory died as a result of the explosion as well. Cuddalore Superintendent of Police, Sree Abhinav, told the news channel that the factory is a licensed unit and that the remaining deaths were of the workers at the factory. “Investigation is on into whether they were making country-made bombs and whether they were using only permitted explosives,” he was quoted saying.
A report in The Times of India said that nine people had died as a result of the blast. Earlier reports had mentioned that five people had perished while four were battling injuries. Police told the newspaper that C. Gandhimathi, the owner of the factory, reached the factory this morning along with eight female workers.
The unit reportedly had a stock of fireworks from earlier; the nine persons had reached the factory’s premises to begin work in preparation for the Diwali season. Tamil Nadu has eased restrictions in light of COVID-19 and allowed factories to resume work with 100% of their workforce.
According to the TOI report, the workers and the owner were conducting a ceremonial puja at a building in the premises. Five people, including Gandhimathi, reportedly died on the spot following an accidental blast. Four women were battling injuries at a hospital and the newspaper said they succumbed to their wounds.
Police and fire tenders have rushed to the spot to carry out rescue operations.