VISAKHAPATNAM: At least five persons, including three women, died and 10 others suffered injuries in a major explosion at a firecracker manufacturing unit at Gokulapadu village in S Rayavaram mandal of Visakhapatnam district on Sunday.
The injured were first taken to Nakkapalle hospital and later to a private hospital for better treatment.
About four persons suffered over 70 per cent burns and the doctors said their condition was critical.
The deceased were identified as N Satyavathi, 28, L Seshamma, 40, S Lakshmi, 50, and S Ramana, 27 -- all from Gokulapadu -- and M Sattibabu, 45, from Payakaraopeta.
All the bodies were charred beyond recognition and they were identified by their family members based on the ornaments and accessories worn by them.
The Yelamanchili Police took unit owner N Nookaraju into custody after the blast and are investigating the case.
According to both the police and locals, the blast occurred around 5 pm at Rohit Fireworks when one of the workers reportedly mishandled the crackers during the manufacturing process.
The impact of the blast was such that the charred bodies of Satyavathi and Lakshmi were found about 100 m away from the accident spot. The sound of explosion was heard about 2 km away from the site. It took nearly an hour for the fire personnel to douse the flames.
The cracker unit had a valid licence up to March 31, 2016, from the fire services department.
Sources said the unit had two rooms with an asbestos roof. The crackers manufactured in the unit were stored in one of the rooms. “Nookaraju is learnt to have got bulk orders ahead of the marriage season and the workers were in a hurry to meet the deadline,” said a police officer.
Besides the workers, several farm labourers working in the nearby fields also suffered severe burns.