On Thursday afternoon, nine people were charred to death in a fire accident at a godown in Sivakasi. Reportedly, the accident happened when the firecrackers were being transferred into a lorry.
About 25 people were rescued from the accident spot. The people who died were identified as, Baskar, Sornakumari, Devi, Kamarchi, Pushpalakshmi, Valamathi, Janakiraman, Ganeshan and Shanmugaraj.
While seven people died on the spot, two people who were admitted to the Sivakasi government hospital also succumbed to their injuries.
"The accident occurred around 2.00 p.m when the crackers were being loaded on a truck and one of the bundles caught fire, leading to multiple explosions," Sivakasi East police station chief R. Perumal told IANS.
Sivakasi town in Virudhunagar district, about 540 km from Chennai in the state's southern region, is the largest manufacturing centre of firecrackers and matches in the country, especially for festivals like Diwali and other ceremonies.
"Unfortunately, most of the victims were from a medical scanning centre next to the crackers shop in the town's congested locality. Crackers in the shop and the truck exploded when a spark lit one of the bundles and its fire spread quickly around the spot," said Perumal.
When crackers in the shop and the truck exploded, emitting huge smoke and loud noise, the truck's diesel tank too caught fire and burnt the vehicle down.
"We have registered a case against the agency's owner and its employees for the explosions and causing death and destruction of public property," added Perumal.
Moreover, 20 vehicles which were parked near the godown were also damaged. The locals said that there was a hospital next to the godown and the people who came there were also affected in the accident.
(With IANS input)