The death toll in the fire accident at the cracker unit could have been much more had the police not chased away many of the 500-strong crowd, according to Inspector of Police P. Raja of Vachchakarapatti.

“Even before we could reach the spot, the villagers had rushed to the unit. We tried to prevent others, though many managed to follow them. However, even as we were chasing the crowd, it exploded with a great noise. Bricks, tin sheets, asbestos sheets and other debris flew from inside the unit. Many people suffered head injuries and tin pieces cut their body.”

Five of the police personnel, including Mr. Raja, head constable Murugesan (Special Branch) Balu (Intelligence unit), Murugesan (Vachchakarapatti) and the driver of Inspector’s vehicle, Suresh Kumar, also sustained injuries.

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