Two persons were injured, one of them seriously, and a building damaged when an unauthorized cracker making unit went up in flames at Chembilavu near Pala on Friday afternoon.
According to the police, the unit belonged to one George alias Appachan of Thundiyil House, Chembilavu. The unit has been functioning unauthorisedly, they said.
The accident was waiting to happen at the unit, said Rajesh, a neighbour. The unit was functioning inside a rubber plantation from a thatched shed near the house where the owner lived. The terraced portion of the house was also used as part of the unit. On the one side of the terrace was the makeshift smokehouse for curing the sheet rubber. On the terrace, the owner had spread explosives to be used in the crackers. On the other side of the terrace they had stored the explosives and other materials in another room.
On Friday afternoon, the fire from the smoke house appears to have spread to the outside and lit the explosives which spread to the store room. There were two persons on the terrace at that time. Babu (30), who has been admitted to the Kottayam Government Medical College hospital with serious burn injuries, is in a critical state. The store room and the concrete building have been heavily damaged.
According to the police, the owner, his wife and his son-in-law were at their house when the accident occurred. Three other employees were working in the thatched shed. All escaped unhurt.
Meanwhile, local people pointed out that the Peringotti ward (where the accident occurred) has become a ‘mini-Sivakasi’ where scores of cracker units were functioning. Many of them are unauthorised and most of them function without any fire safety measures, they said.
The district had three major cracker accidents last year.
The year commenced with an explosion on January 9 when an unauthorized cracker unit went up in flames injuring two at Neendoor near Ettumanur.
On March 25, two persons were injured and a temporary shed destroyed, when it went up in flames at Vakathanam. On April 2, last year, three persons including a woman were seriously injured in an explosion at an unauthorized cracker unit at Endayar near Kanjirappally.