PATNA: Five people were killed and 20 others were left injured in a blast at an illegal firecracker factory in Bihar’s Nalanda district late on Thursday night. The blast was so severe that at least eight concrete houses suffered heavy damages.
Mohammad Sarfaraz, the owner of the factory at Khashganj village under Sohsarai police station, suffered nearly 90 per cent burn injuries in the blast that took place at about 11 PM, said police. Sarfaraz lost his two minor daughters, his three-year-old son and his sister. The fifth victim was identified as 28-year-old Munna Pandit.
The injured people were rushed to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) and the Nalanda district headquarters hospital. Their condition is stated to be stable.
Sohsarai police station SHO Sher Singh Yadav was placed under suspension after a preliminary probe on Friday. The local people alleged that police had not acted despite several complaints about the functioning of the factory in a residential area.
Mohammad Ejaz, the 11-year-old son of the firecracker factory owner, told reporters at PMCH that the blast took place when his father was lighting an incense stick. Ejaz has suffered nearly 20 per cent burn injuries.
“It was an illegally operated firecracker factory run at a rented house. No permission is ever given to run such factories in residential areas. A probe is on to ascertain what kind of firecrackers were made and where they were sent,” said DIG (Patna range) Rajesh Kumar after visiting the site.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar condoled the deaths and ordered a probe under the leadership of the DIG and Patna divisional commissioner Anand Kishore. The government announced ex gratia for the dead people and promised financial help for houses damaged in the blast.
Forensic science officials collected samples from the factory, named Sayed Fireworks, which had been producing firecrackers of ‘Hanuman’ brand. Sources said production was on in full swing at he factory to cater to the high demand of crackers for the upcoming Ram Navami festival.