In Tamil Nadu, mishaps at fire cracker manufacturing and storing units are a regular phenomenon. In the first week of October, 14 people were charred to death after a fire broke out at a cracker godown in Attibele on the Bengaluru-Hosur highway. In March this year, two women were killed, and a man was injured at an explosion at a firecracker unit at Nagadasampatti village near Papparapatti. The accident comes just a week after 12 people died in an explosion at a firecracker manufacturing unit in Ariyalur district near Tiruchirapalli.
According to reports, the blasts took place by sparks from a firecracker being tested on the road. All the victims were making firecrackers allegedly in sheds built illegally behind a firecracker shop, which caught fire and exploded. 15 workers of Kanishkar Fireworks near M Pudhupatti were having lunch on October 17 at the unit’s shop located nearby. Around 1:30 PM, a spark owing to a blast near the unit led to a major explosion at the shop.
Thirteen of the workers were charred to death and two others sustained burns. Police said the unit was owned by R Sundramoorthy of Sivakasi with a licence from district Revenue Officer and a license from Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO), he didn’t have the permission to do packing at the said spot where the accident took place.
Kanishkar agency is also situated outside the entrance to the firecrackers unit. When the crackers were sample tested on road, a sparks fell into the shop and the crackers stocked there started to explode. Fire and Rescue Services officials from Virudhunagar, Sivakasi and Srivilliputhur rushed to the spot and fought for around three hours to douse the blaze. Their preliminary inquiry reveal people were employed to manufacture firecracker illegally in sheds behind the shop.
Around 15 of them were in the sheds when the mishap occurred. Among the 13 victims, a few died on the spot while others succumbed to their injuries at the hospital. The 13 deceased workers have been identified as M Amudha (60), S Mahadevi (50), N Panchavarnam (35), M Balamurugan (30), T Tamilselvi (55), all from Alagapuri; S Kuruvammal (35), J Bakiyam (35) and M Indira (50) from Lakshmiyapuram; K Lakshmi (28) and M Muneswari (32) from S Ammapatti; M Thangamalai (33) of Sevalur; K Muthulakshmi (36) and M Chellammal (40) from Moovaraivendran. The injured, A Ponnuthai (45) of Alagapuri and S Chinnathai (35) of Krishnankovil sustained below 20% burns. Ponnuthai is being treated at Government Medical College Hospital in Virudhunagar. The owner of the unit was arrested and the district administration suspended the licence of the fire cracker unit,
In The second incident, at at Arya Fireworks Factory in Kichanayakkanpatti village, 60 years old Vembu was making crackers in a working shed when the blast took place due to friction. Maraneri police arrested the unit’s foreman Gurumoorthy and are searching for the owner, Muthuvijayan. The unit has a licence from Nagpur.
Chief Minister MK Stalin announced a solatium of Rs 3 lakh each to the family members of the deceased workers. Virudhunagar district magistrate VP Jayaseelan has ordered inquiry into incidents and ordered revenue and industrial safety and health department to conduct an inquiry and submit a report for both units. Superintendent of Police R Srinivasa Perumal, DIG (Madurai range) Ramya Bharathi visited the spot.