Chennai: Eight persons have died in a fire accident at Sivakasi, the huge cracker manufacturing hub in Tamil Nadu. Ten persons have been injured in the accident this afternoon.
- Fire started as crackers were being offloaded from a vehicle
- Adjoining pathological test centre, some parked vehicles also caught fire
- Fire accidents are common in the run-up to Diwali at Sivakasi
The fire started as crackers were being offloaded from a vehicle to a shop.
Among the deceased are a few patients who were waiting at an adjoining pathological test centre, where the fire had quickly spread. Several vehicles parked in the area were also damaged.
"The deaths occurred due to suffocation as result of excess fumes and not because of any blast," news agency Press Trust of India quoted District Collector A Sivagnanam as saying.
Four fire tenders were deployed to bring the fire under control.
The authorities said the cracker consignment was mishandled by the workers who were offloading it. The administration, the Collector said, has been carrying out safety drills in the district, about 500 km from Chennai, to prevent such mishaps.
PMK chief Anbumani Ramadoss has demanded a probe into the fire. He said "How did officials allow a cracker outlet near a scan centre? A sitting judge should probe this"
Fire accidents are common in the run-up to Diwali at Sivakasi, which has thousands of cracker manufacturing units. At one time, the industry was notorious for employing thousands of children.
While Chinese fire crackers pose a challenge to the cracker makers of Sivakasi, the real threat the ban on crackers during Diwali. Last year in October a group of manufacturers had appealed to the Supreme Court, opposing the cracker ban. They had said it will affect the Hindu tradition and hurt religious sentiments.