Three workers were killed on the spot in an explosion at a cracker unit at Sindapalli near here on Friday.

Friction while handling chemicals to make ‘chakkars’ in one of the working sheds triggered the blast that killed the workers, the Superintendent of Police, S. Maheswaran, said.

The deceased were identified as S. Ponnusamy (70) of Mettamalai, K. Arivazhagan (50) of East Thayilpatti and K. Sundaram (45) of West Thayilpatti. The bodies were thrown some 50 feet away in the impact of the explosion.

The shed was flattened and the bodies were torn apart, the District Collector, T.N. Hariharan, said. An earth mover was employed to remove the debris to find out any worker was trapped underneath, he said.

Stating that the explosion had taken place in the mixing room, the Collector added that the victims had returned to the work spot after tea just then. “I was told that the mixed explosives would have undergone chemical reaction with the passage of time and exploded as the workers touched them,” he added. There were no reports of any worker getting injured in the accident, Mr. Hariharan added.

Around 100 persons were working in the unit when the blast took place at around 4.20 p.m. Fire and Rescue Services personnel from Sattur station rushed to the spot and put out the flames. The workers had, by then, fled the scene, the Divisional Fire Officer, C. Manoharan, said.

This is the third fire accident reported in cracker units in the district since January 1.