Surendran was leading one of the groups that was responsible for lighting the fireworks.

Kerala temple tragedy Fireworks contractor Surendran becomes latest casualty death toll at 111
news Temple Fire Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 17:43

Fireworks contractor Kazhakuttam Surendran (67), who had suffered grievous injuries in the temple fire, died at the Thiruvananthapuram medical college on Tuesday. With this, the death toll has gone up to 111.

Surendran was leading one of the groups that was responsible for lighting the fireworks.

Owing to the ban imposed on competing this year, the temple authorities chose to showcase this year’s ‘Kambam’ as a joint display by the two groups led by Varkala Krishnankutty and Kazhakuttam Surendran respectively, at least that was what was officially projected to the district authorities.

So instead of the usual procedure of having the two groups competing from the two Kambapuras respectively, both the groups had to host their fireworks from just one Kambapura to avoid any semblance of a competition.

A Kambapura is a kind of open shed traditionally endowed with a coconut fronds-plaited roof where crackers and bombs used for such festivities are stored.

The rivalry however was very much intact with both groups racing against time to come up with the ‘better’ bang. So each group had lined up five to six ‘ammittu’ (a kind of cracker-bomb some of which weighed almost 16 kilos) which in itself was dangerous in case of a misfire. Three vehicles loaded with these bombs were also on standby.

One of the 'amittu' did not rise high enough and exploded just six to seven feet of the ground. The ensuing sparks from the blast fell onto the lined up ‘ammittu’ which caused a lateral explosion that then spread to the nearby vehicles, triggering off the massive explosion and bringing down the entire Kambapura too in a matter of minutes.

On Sunday, a huge fire broke out following an explosion at the Puttingal temple in Paravur, Kollam district during the fireworks display. 

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