Tamil Nadu

Five women charred to death in fireworks unit accident

A view of the cracker unit near T. Kallupatti where the fire accident occurred. Special Arrangement  

Five women workers were charred to death and three employees, including a man, suffered critical burns in a fire accident at Rajalakshmi Fireworks under the T. Kallupatti police station limits in Madurai district on Friday.

The police have identified the victims as M. Veluthai, 45, of S. Paraipatti; P. Lakshmi, 50, of Kilarpatti; P. Suruliammal, 50, of Govindanallur in Virudhunagar district; K. Ayyammal, 65, of Kadaneri; and S. Kaleeswari, 45, of Athipatti.

R. Sundaramoorthy, 39, of Amathur, P. Lakshmi, 45, and M. Mahalakshmi, 45, from Kadaneri sustained more than 70% burns. They were admitted to the Government Rajaji Hospital in a critical condition, the police said.

Fire and Rescue Services personnel from Madurai and Virudhunagar districts, led by Deputy Director (Southern region) P. Saravanakumar, rushed to the spot and put out the fire that had spread from the chemical mixing room to two working sheds.

High temperature

Officials suspect that mixing of chemicals under high atmospheric temperature on a hot afternoon could have triggered an explosion in the mixing room around 2 p.m.

“A blast in the chemical mixing room is suspected to have caused the fire,” Madurai Collector T.G. Vinay said. The unit had a licence valid till March 2021. The number of employees working in the unit was within the permitted limit. “An inspection by explosives experts will reveal the actual cause and whether there was any violation of safety rules,” he said.

After the explosion in the mixing room, flames spread to two working sheds where the women were working. They were caught in a ball of fire, said Madurai District Fire Officer S. Kalyanakumar.

Firemen with three fire tenders from T. Kallupatti, Virudhunagar and Watrap struggled for nearly an hour to put out the flames. Superintendent of Police Sujit Kumar rushed to the spot.

The Collector visited the hospital and instructed the Dean to provide high quality treatment to the injured.

Virudhunagar MP B. Manickam Tagore has sought ₹10 lakh in relief to the family members of the deceased.

Compensation ordered

In Chennai, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami ordered ₹2 lakh each in compensation to the families of the deceased. He also ordered ₹1 lakh each in compensation to the severely injured persons from the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund.

In a statement, the Chief Minister said that once he came to know about the incident, he directed the Revenue Minister and the Collector to carry out relief work and ensure that the injured got the best medical care and provide assistance to the families.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 8:39:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/five-women-charred-to-death-in-fireworks-unit-accident/article32933727.ece

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