3 days on, another cracker unit blast claims five lives

Published: 29th April 2013 09:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th April 2013 09:38 AM   |  A+A-

An explosion at a fireworks unit in Naranapuram village near Sivakasi that left five workers dead and seven injured on Sunday morning.

Officials of the Explosives Department said that the company failed to adhere to regulations, which could have caused the explosion.

The incident, coming barely three days after three workers perished in a blast at another cracker unit in Sivakasi, is bound to raise more alarming questions over the safety record of such factories in India’s cracker capital. Incidentally, Rathna Fireworks, where the tragedy occurred, is owned by S S Vijayakumar, president of the TN Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association, said a police source.

On Sunday morning, 12 contract workers arrived at the unit at 9 am to mix chemicals meant for manufacturing aerial fireworks under a tree in the factory’s premises as its rooms were closed, with Sunday being a holiday. The work was being done to ensure that chemicals were ready for use on Monday.

According to sources, friction caused during handling of chemicals triggered a fire around 10.10 am, which quickly spread to other chemicals and triggered the blast.

Three workers - Chelliah (38), Kani (40), Marimuthu (48) - died on the spot. Murugan (35) and Balraj (37) died later. Paungandhi, Thangapandi,  Natarajan, Marimuthu , Maduraiveeran, Pandi, Karuppasamy  were injured.

Inquiries revealed that they violated provisions of Explosives Act, 1884 and Explosives Rules, 2008 including not taking permission to work on Sundays, mixing materials outside configured rooms and using banned items including red lead.


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