A fire in a match factory at North Thittankulam in Kovilpatti on Tuesday claimed the lives of four women. The blaze started at 1.40 p.m. and raged for more than half an hour.

Kovilpatti Revenue Divisional Officer T. Kathiresan, who rushed to the site, said the women were engaged in unloading chemical-dipped splints from a container.

They were shifting the material to a vehicle parked close to the container — which was also burnt completely — to transport it to match manufacturing units.

After an enquiry, the RDO said the accident occurred due to mishandling of the inflammable material. The charred remains of the women were taken to Kovilpatti Government Head Quarters Hospital for post-mortem. Kovilpatti Tahsildar T.V.Ramesh said the deceased were identified as Subulakshmi (50), wife of Ramesh of North Thittankulam, M.Uma (18) of the same locality, Suganthi (20), wife of Siva of Kovilpatti and Banumathi (55), wife of Dharmaraja of Urulaikudi. The Kovilpatti East police have registered a case on a complaint filed by Village Administrative Officer.

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