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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sivakasi Cracker factory Fire accident claims many lives

A sad day as we hear the sad news of accident killing more than 30 – some newspapers put the loss of lives at a much higher figure

Sivakasi is an active town and a municipality in Virudhunagar District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the capital of India’s firecracker industry with about 8,000 factories, big and small, producing 90 percent of the total fireworks output. Looking at the activeness of the people, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India nicknamed Sivakasi as "Kutti Japan" which means "Little Japan". There are almost 400 manufacturers based in the city. Beside fireworks factories, there are many printing presses with in-house studios and artists, which produce a variety of colourful posters and calender art.

At least 30 people are reported to have been  killed and more than 45 injured Wednesday when an explosion tore through a fireworks factory in Sivakasi, triggering a major fire.  The explosions and the raging fire is making the rescue very difficult.  

IANS quotes a Police official as stating that the accident happened around 12.30 p.m. in one of the biggest factories in the area. He said nearly 40 of the 48 sheds in the sprawling warehouse had been destroyed in the blaze.  Thirteen fire tenders battled the flames while more than 25 ambulances ferried the injured to hospitals.

According to police, the fire from one of the sheds quickly spread to the rest of the factory, thanks to a huge stock of firecrackers being readied for the upcoming festival season.  Hours after the tragedy, a local official told journalists that around 100 people were still trapped in the factory premises.

Tamil television channels showed intermittent explosions in the area, and a thick smoke rising to the sky.  Villagers were seen carrying away the injured in their arms or in large clothes in the absence of stretchers.

There are apprehensions that the casualty figures would be high as normally 300 workers work in a factory. The fire accident is reported to have occurred at Mudalipatti in Om Sakthi Fire Works according to Dinamalar.

As Deepavali festival is drawing nearer, many workers had been involved in manufacture of crackers which was going on at full strength, when the unfortunate fire accident occurred.  The exact cause of fire is not known

With profound sadness – S. Sampathkumar.
Source : IANS; IBN Live and  Dinamalar.

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