On Saturday, five people including two men and three women died in a blast at a firecrackers manufacturing unit in Vetrilaiurani Village in Madurai.
The accident happened at a manufacturing unit of Nagamalli Fireworks, which is owned by Sakthishanmugam, who hails from Sivakasi Taluk in Virudhunagar. It is licensed by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation. The New Indian Express reported that there are 15 working sheds in the cracker unit and about 70 people work in the unit. On Saturday, about 50 workers reported for work at the firecrackers unit.
The incident happened at 10:30am when one of the workers, Shanmugavel, (40), was mixing the chemicals which is required in manufacturing crackers inside the chemical mixing room. Reportedly, there was an immediate explosion due to friction. Shanmugavel succumbed to severe burn injuries on the spot. The mixing room was also damaged because of the explosion.
Moreover, the spark from the blast fell on the firecrackers kept in nearby sheds and it led to another explosion, reported TNIE. Four people died on the spot due to the second explosion. The deceased are Paulraj, (45), Murugeshwari, (21), Kalarani, (38) from Vetrilaiurani and Vijaya, (35) from Melakothainachiyarpuram. Four people from Vetrilaiurani village also suffered injuries and were immediately taken to Government Sivakasi Hospital.
The fire and rescue service personnel recovered five dead bodies from the debris. The dead bodies were sent to the Sivakasi government hospital for postmortem. Virudhunagar SP M Rajarajan and district revenue officer Muthukumaran inspected the spot.
The relatives of the deceased workers carried out a protest in front of the firework unit asking for compensation. Later, a compensation of Rs. 5.50 lakh was distributed to the families by the fireworks company department.
A case was registered at the Vembakottai police station. The factory foreman Mahendran surrendered at the police station, reported The Times of India.
In 2016, 23 people were killed in six blasts at firecracker units. On February 11, 2017, there was a blast at Devibala Fireworks at Vaniyampatti near Elayirampannai in which two people died and a woman was injured in the incident.