October 21, 2016
Nine people were killed in a firecracker mishap at the fireworks hub of Sivakasi in Virudhunagar district today.
The mishap occurred when a fire broke out while crackers were being offloaded from a vehicle to a shop and comes at a time when fireworks units in the district are at their busiest, working to cater to the countrywide demand for crackers ahead of the Diwali festival. As the fire broke out at the shop, reportedly due to mishandling of the consignment by employees, it spread and affected a nearby scan centre. It also damaged parked vehicles, including two-wheelers, police said. The fire was brought under control by Fire and Rescue services.
Virudhunagar District Collector A Sivagnanam said that 22 persons were affected. “The nine deaths occurred due to suffocation caused by fumes and not by any blast,” he said, adding that those affected by smoke inhalation were admitted to a government hospital and a nearby private hospital. Some were also referred to Madurai hospitals, he said.
Describing it as an ‘unfortunate accident’, Sivagnanam asserted that the administration has been carrying out safety drills in the district, about 500 km from Chennai, to prevent any such mishaps.