The death toll in the blast at Naranapuram near Sivakasi, which claimed five lives on Sunday, went up to six with one more person succumbing to burn injuries on Tuesday.
The victim, K. Pavulgandhi (37) of Naranapurampudur, was undergoing treatment having more than 80 per cent of burns at the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) in Madurai.
Two more persons – M. Thangapandi of Naranapurampudur and M. Natarajan of Chellaiyanaickenpatti — who suffered 80 per cent of burns, were undergoing treatment in the burns ward at the Government Hospital in Sivakasi.
Meanwhile, A. P. Singh, Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, told TheHindu that the licence of the fireworks factory, New Rathna Fireworks, had been suspended. A report has been sent to the head office in Nagpur and the samples collected from the spot have been sent to the forensic laboratory.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the factory had used red lead, a highly pollutant and toxic material, even though its use had been banned eight to 10 years back. A special police team has gone to Bangalore to arrest the factory owner, S. Vijayakumar, who is the president of the Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association (TANFAMA), in connection with the blast.
The Superintendent of Police S. Maheswaran said that a team had conducted a search in Madurai and Courtallam before proceeding to Bangalore to arrest the owner.
The police have arrested the foreman Velmurugan, assistant foreman Ayyanar and accountant Manikandan. They have been remanded to judicial custody.
Sources said that the factory had disbursed a compensation of Rs. 4 lakh each to the legal heirs of five deceased persons and Rs. 15,000 each for cremation purpose.
Keywords: Sivakasi blast toll