VIRUDHUNAGAR: At least five persons including four women were killed and 17 injured in a blast at Thankarajpandian fireworks factory at Kalaiyarkurichi village of Sivakasi Taluk on Thursday evening.
The owner of the unit Thankaraj (52) has surrendered at the M Pudhupatti police station.
Only one of the deceased -- Selvi (37) of Ellinaickenpatti-- has been identified so far. A 75-year-old man with 100% burn injuries is in critical condition and is being treated at the Sivakasi Government Hospital. As many as 15 of the 20 rooms of the licensed unit were completely damaged.
The sound of the blast and vibrations were felt even at Amathur village, which is around 10 km from the mishap site. Four ambulances were deployed. Four fire tenders and 50 rescue personnel are carrying out rescue operations as per the directions of District Fire Officer (DFO) Ganesan.
According to police, a preliminary investigation is in progress to ascertain the cause of the blast. However, Sivakasi sub-collector C Dinesh Kumar told The New Indian Express that the pellets kept for drying had become solidified and could have caught fire causing the blast.
District Collector R Kannan and other officials are overseeing rescue operations at the spot.
The incident comes on the heels of the fire accident triggered by an explosion at another firecracker factory at Achankulam village in the district on February 13 that claimed 23 lives.