One killed, four hurt in fire at idle cracker unit

It remained sealed following a blaze that killed seven in February

One person was killed and four others, including a teenager, sustained serious burns in a major fire that broke out on the premises of an idle firecrackers manufacturing unit at Varaganur under Thiruvenkatam police station limits on Wednesday.

While victim K. Gopal, 61, died in the Government Hospital, Sivakasi, around 3.30 p.m., B. Arjunan, 17, and M. Gurusamy, 60, have been admitted to the same hospital. N. Kanagaraj, 46, and K. Kamaraj, 58, are undergoing treatment in Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital. - All the injured and deceased belong to Maangudi near Thiruvenkatam,

As all the injured have sustained serious burns, their condition is said to be critical.

Police said a team of charcoal makers had camped on a land adjacent to Guna Fireworks at Varaganur near Guganpaarai under Thiruvenkatam police station limits to clear wild growth of thorny shrubs. Following a blaze in the firecrackers unit that claimed seven lives in February, it remained sealed since then.

Though all storage sheds of the unit were destroyed in the accident, firecrackers stored in a couple of sheds were sealed along with the finished products.

Since the thorny acacia that had grown profusely on the land adjacent to the ill-fated firecrackers unit are suitable for making charcoal, the workers had been hired to clear the thorny bushes. While one of them was preparing lunch for the entire team, the others were clearing bushes.

Around 11 a.m., the fire accidentally spread to the shed where the firecrackers had been stored and triggered a massive explosion and fire in which all the five workers were caught and sustained serious burns.

Fire tenders from Vembakottai, Sivakasi and Kovilpatti doused the flames and the victims were rescued and rushed to the hospitals. Following first-aid at Kovilpatti Government Hospital, Kanagaraj and Kamaraj were brought to Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital.

Police said Arjunan, a Plus Two student, had joined the charcoal-making team during his holidays to earn for paying his future studies. Thiruvenkatam police have registered a case.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 12:27:08 PM |

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