In-Depth

Kollam temple fire: All you need to know

Authorities clear debris on the site near the temple. Photo: Suresh Kumar  

As a part of the annual temple festival, a huge fireworks ceremony was held at Paravur Puttingal Devi temple, near Kollam. The explosion was caused when the storehouse of the fireworks materials caught fire on Sunday (April 10) and led to the death of over 100 devotees.



Tragedy in form of pyrotechnics

Disaster struck the crowded precincts of the Puttingal Devi Temple at Paravur, south of Kollam, around 3.30 a.m. on March 10 when an entire dump of fire crackers meant to be burst to mark the conclusion of the Meena-Bharani festival exploded, killing over 100 persons, maiming many more and causing extensive damage to nearby buildings. Read more

What eyewitnesses say

Eyewitnesses said disaster struck when a cracker meant to explode in the air fell to the ground, sending sparks flying in all directions. The sparks reached the storehouse, igniting fireworks stored there. The explosion that followed brought down a building and caused damage to several structures in the vicinity.The explosion was followed by power disruption, which left the crowd clueless about the magnitude of the tragedy for some time. However, the locals swung into action, extricating bodies from the debris and pulling out the injured, many of whom did not survive the journey to hospitals.

Pyrotechnics display was conducted despite ban

The Kerala Fire and Rescue Services had not given clearance for the fireworks display. The Director General, Kerala Fire and Rescue Services, Lokanath Behera visited the site to assess the situation and Director, Technical, E. B. Prasad has been asked to submit a report. A preliminary investigation at the site revealed that banned chemicals were used for the pyrotechnics, reportedly for louder crackers. Read more

  • » The materials for the display were stored in the Thekke kambapura (southern fireworks storehouse) on the left side of the temple. Trouble began when preparations were being made for starting the suryakanti pyrotechnics. It involves seven-stage fireworks in the air, which finally explodes to take the shape of a sunflower ( suryakanti ). > Read more
  • Case registered

    The Paravur police have registered a case against the temple authorities and the fireworks contractor, who is stated to have suffered 80 per cent burns and is undergoing treatment at the medical college hospital. Police said five workers associated with the contractor of the fireworks display have been taken into custody.

     

    Survivor recounts horror tale

    • » “I’ve never witnessed anything of this sort. The sight of the bodies will haunt me until my end,” a shaken Muraleedharan Pillai said. Read more
    • » Septuagenarian Pankajakshyamma said she was threatened with dire consequences by several people for petitioning the District Collector against the competitive pyrotechnics at the Puttingal Devi temple. She said miscreants had even thrown stones at her house. > Read more
    • » The tragedy in pictures: >Click here

    Centre and State react

    • » Kerala Cabinet announces Rs. 10 lakh ex-gratia for next of kin of those killed in firework disaster; Rs. 2 lakh for the injured.
    • » Judicial probe ordered into the Kollam temple fire tragedy, said Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy.
    • » Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the situation in Kollam and promises all support from Centre to State govt.
    • A safety procedure that is not yet standard

      The ‘Guidelines for Event Organisers and Stakeholder Agencies’ lay down a six-month window of planning and elaborate checklists for each stakeholder department such as police, health, revenue, fire, electricity and the local body. Read more

      • » >Editorial: The death of more than a hundred people and injuries caused to scores by explosions in a storehouse, was a result of gross negligence, a combination of appalling carelessness and a reckless disregard for the safety of others.

      Deadly firecracker tragedies in Kerala

      This is not the first such firecracker-related accident in Kerala. More than 750 such accidents have taken place in the last 20 years in the State. Read more

      The fallout

      • » Orthodox Church bans fireworks display Read more
      • » Now, disaster-preparedness of Thrissur Pooram to be reviewed > Read more

      >Full coverage




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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 5:42:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/specials/in-depth/kollam-temple-fire-all-you-need-to-know/article14231834.ece1

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