In what is turning out to be a huge tragedy, a massive fire broke out at the Paravur’s Puttingal temple at Kollam in Kerala in the wee hours of Sunday during Vishu celebrations. By Sunday evening, officials confirmed that 106 people had been killed and close to 500 people injured to varying degrees after a pack of fireworks caught fire during the firework display at 3 30AM.
Authorities said that of the 106 bodies, 75 had been identified and reclaimed. Sixteen bodies remained unidentified and three were completedly disfigured. Among the injured, around 300 people were treated as out patients and administered treatment before sending them home. As many as 273 people have been admitted to hospital and are recovering.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for each victim of the fire and Rs 50,000 for those injured.
The fire is now under control. Power lines have been switched off in the area. Several people have been reportedy injured due to concrete falling from the buildings near the site of explosion.
There was a huge explosion and the impact could be felt by people in a one-and-a-half kilometer radius, according to reports. The massive fire is said to have engulfed the entire devaswom building.
As the temple festival was on, fireworks display had commenced at the temple precincts since midnight and hundreds of people had gathered to watch the show.
As the fireworks and pyrotechnics display was coming to a close at 3 AM, an explosion is suspected to have occurred at the storeroom 'Kambapuram' filled with crackers and pyrotechnics materials, police said.
"A firecracker or amittu fell into the crowd and then a man's hand caught fire. Soon the fire spread. For the first fifteen minutes, we were almost clueless. The concrete building in which firecrackers were kept also caught fire and in the explosion the concrete and even the beams fell down. This injured more people," a reporter of Manorama who lives near the temple told the channel. It is reported that several deaths happened due to the concrete from buildings falling over people following the explosion.
One policeman and one woman are also among the dead, several bodies are charred beyond recognition. People are still being rescued.
More than 40 people have been admitted to the Thiruvananthapuram General Hospital, and others have been rushed to hospitals in Kollam.
There are reports that no proper permission was sought for the fireworks display and the Kerala Home Minister has ordered a judicial enquiry.
One of the temple officials said, “The fire started when sparks from the fireworks fell on a huge cache of other fireworks kept nearby. Constant announcements were being made to ask people to get back and not stand near the explosives, but excited people stood there.”
These were the fireworks which were being used:
Rescue work is on at the spot:
Here are some images from the spot:
Here are some images from ANI.
Images taken during the explosion:
Injured people at the TVM GH: