On Sunday, tragedy struck Paravurâ€™s Puttingal temple at Kollam in Kerala when a pack of fireworks caught fire during the firework display and claimed more than a hundred lives.
The latest death toll at the time of writing is 102 while at least 68 injured are being treated for burn injuries.
Initial reports confirm that Kollam Additional District Magistrate (ADM) had not granted permission to the temple for the annual competitive fireworks carried out by the Kollam Puttingal temple fearing potential hazards.
This blatant disregard for the law by the temple authorities is indeed shocking given the numerous instances of similar incidents the state has witnessed on multiple occasions over the years.
Although the magnitude of this tragedy is undisputedly the worst ever, the following is a list of similar accidents that have occurred over the years, due to fire in places of worship in the state.
1952- Sabarimala- 68 people were reported dead at the temple during a similar instance.
1978- Thrissur pooram- Eight people died in an incident where a firecracker landed on spectators.
1984-Kandassankadavu Church, Thrissur -15 people died during a blaze.
1988- Tripunithura temple, Kochi-10 women died in a temple as the shed in which fireworks were stored caught fire.
1989- Kandassankadavu Church, Thrissur- 12 people died during the celebratory feast of St Thomas Christians.
1990-Duryodhana Temple,Kollam- 26 people were charred to death when a fire broke out due to fireworks.
1999-Chamunda temple, Aalur in Palakkad- Eight people were burnt to death.
Apart from these, there have been numerous other minor incidents in which people have lost their lives due to firecrackers.
Though not due to a fire, in 1987, 27 spectators who were watching fireworks display sitting on a railway track died as a train went over them near the Sri Jagannatha Temple in Thalassery.