The victims include a class XI student who was working in the unit

Three workers, including a school student, were killed, and nine others injured when a blast occurred in a cracker godown in Chengam town on Friday.

Sources said that the owner of the godown, Mani, was engaged in repackaging firecracker stock that arrived for Deepavali when the blast occurred at about 3 pm.

The godown is situated near the old bus stand on the busy Polur road. Neighbours heard a deafening sound and saw smoke and fume engulfing the place. The godown was reduced to rubble. Cars parked near the site were damaged in the impact. Fire tenders and police rushed to the spot.

The badly damaged body of Chinnaraj (18), a class XI student of Government Higher Secondary School, Chengam, who was working in the unit, was recovered from the debris. Eleven injured workers were rushed to Chengam Government Hospital where two more persons, Indian (19) and Chellammal (45) were declared dead. The injured patients were rushed to Government Tiruvannamalai Medical College Hospital.

All the three persons who were killed in the accident belong to Thokkavadi, a Dalit habitation near Chengam. District Collector A.Gnanasekaran and Superintendent of Police J.Mutharasi inspected the spot. The cause of the accident is being probed.

Meanwhile, relatives and neighbours of the accident victims staged a road roko on Tiruvannamalai-Bangalore National Highway, in front of Chengam Government Hospital, deploring the poor facilities in the hospital. They gave up the protest only after officials pacified them. The protesters also demanded a government job for the kin of the deceased.

Last July, three boys were killed in a cracker unit blast in Rajanthangal village near Tiruvannamalai. In September 2009, ten persons were killed when a three-storeyed building collapsed in a cracker unit blast in the town.

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