10 dead, six injured in blast at fireworks unit in Tamil Nadu’s Sattur

Five buildings on the private factory’s premises destroyed in the explosion; Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin announce solatium; Case registered against three persons

Updated - February 18, 2024 08:57 am IST

Published - February 17, 2024 07:56 pm IST - VIRUDHUNAGAR

The fireworks factory where an explosion killed at least 10 people in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar district on February 17, 2024.

The fireworks factory where an explosion killed at least 10 people in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar district on February 17, 2024. | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

Ten workers were killed and six injured in an explosion at a private fireworks factory unit in Kundayiruppu near Sattur in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar district on Saturday.

The blast, which took place at the Ashok Sparklers factory at about 12:30 p.m., completely destroyed five out of the 74 buildings on the premises.

Nine people were declared dead on arrival at the Sivakasi government hospital and one died while at the hospital, police said.

Fire and Rescue Services personnel from Vembakottai and Sivakasi rushed to the spot to put out the fire.

Preliminary inquiry revealed that the incident was due to overcrowding at the chemical mixing room, Virudhunagar Collector V.P. Jeyaseelan told presspersons at the site of the incident.

Case registered

The Alangulam police have registered a case against three persons, including the owner of the unit.

Vignesh, the owner; I. Suresh Kumar and T. Jayabal were booked under Section 286 (Negligent conduct with respect to explosive substances), 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others, 338 (Causing grievous hurt by endangering life or personal safety of others), 304 (part II) (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under the Indian Explosives Act.

Mr. Jeyaseelan said an inter-departmental team headed by the District Revenue Officer (DRO) has been constituted to probe the actual reason for the explosion.

Officials from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization who inspected the cracker unit refused to disclose any information about their findings.

More than the permitted number of workers were present inside the rooms of the unit, which was one of the reasons for the incident, according to a police official and several workers.

PM, CM announce solatium

Following the incident, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin announced a solatium of ₹3 lakh for each of the families of the deceased, and ₹1 lakh for the injured. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced an ex-gratia from PMNRF of ₹2 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased and ₹50,000 for those injured.

The deceased were identified as S. Ramesh, 28; A. Karuppasamy, 23; R. Ambika, 30; M. Muthu, 28; K. Aberaj, 62; T. Murugajothi, 48; V. Santharoobi, 43; M. Gurusamy, 52; M. Muniyasamy, 44; and R. Jeya.

Six workers with burn injuries were admitted to the Sivakasi government hospital. Three of the severely injured were identified as S. Sivakumar, 29; M. Muthukumar, 30; and S. Rengammal, 55.

Hundreds of relatives of the deceased staged a protest at the Sivakasi government hospital demanding more solatium to the families.

Minister for Labour Welfare C.V. Ganesan and Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management K.K.S.S.R Ramachandran met the families of the injured at the Sivakasi government hospital. The ministers said the government had ordered closure of 30 firecracker units in the State, which were found flouting rules.

Opposition leader Edappadi K. Palaniswami urged the State government to carry out inspections in firecracker units to ensure strict compliance of safety measures.

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