In major fire that flared through a fireworks factory and godown at Vadakkampatti near Maduri, at least 17 people were flamed to death and nearly 40 others injured.
According to reports, eight people died on the spot while others died either when being transported to hospital or after reaching there during medication. However, police officials said that the exact number of casualties could be told only after the fire was extinguished.
The raging flames could be brought under control after eight fire tenders battled the fire for around four hours together. Officials said that the delay in firefighting was caused largely due to non-availability of water in the vicinity and firefighters had to fetch water from a nearby tank.
The cause of fire is still unknown. Officials said that the injured people were in the unconscious state and so it was difficult to know about the cause of fire.
Most of the injured, including some children, had suffered more than 50 percent burns. They have been admitted to hospitals. Only two bodies have been identified while others were beyond recognition, the officials said.
The fire broke out at around 7 pm., with loud explosions of crackers that could be heard about one kms away from the factory.
The factory was involved in manufacture of unbranded crackers locally called ‘OUTU’ which produces hi decibel sound with pyrotechniques, used in temple festivals, weddings and other occasions.
A major fireworks factory and godown are located near the fire mishap site, an official said.
There was confusion among the police and fire service officials about the nature of the licence possessed by the fireworks factory.
While one source said the owner of the factory had been given licence only to store and sell explosives, but he was also making fireworks for festivals.
However, the local police officials said they were in fireworks making business for a long time.