KALLAKURICHI: The toll in the fire mishap at a cracker shop in Sankarapuram town of Kallakurichi district rose to seven on Wednesday after rescue personnel found the body of a missing 11-year-old boy from under the debris. The deceased was identified as M Dhanabal, nephew of the shop owner, S Selvaganabathy.
Sources said Selvaganabathy, who runs a grocery, had opened a firecrackers stall outside the shop and stocked crackers in the first floor of the building. A fire broke out there on Tuesday evening, which soon spread to the stocked crackers and also to a bakery, next to Selvaganabathy’s shop. While crackers exploded on one side, sources said, gas cylinders in the bakery also caught fire, resulting in collapse of both buildings. “A few people in these shops got stuck inside,” said a witness.
Among the deceased, one person whose identity was not ascertained on Tuesday, was later recognised as Valli (65), Selvaganabathy’s relative. Also, Nazar (40), who was admitted to the Kallakurichi government hospital, died in the wee hours of Wednesday. The other injured are Sivagami, Santhini, Annamal, Saritha, Parameswari, and Govindhan, besides Selvaganabathy.
A senior police official said, “In the first phase of inquiry, we suspected the cause of fire to be a spark from electric line. Four among the seven deceased were witnesses to the incident and were taking videos in their mobile phones. During the blast, a pillar flew out and fell on them. The grocery and a part of the bakery also collapsed. However, we have demolished the remaining considering the safety of public.”
Minister EV Velu, District Collector PN Sridhar, Superintendent of Police, Ziaul Haque, and others inspected the spot and visited the injured at the hospital. The SP also issued a statement saying people had to take a no objection certificates from fire, police, and health departments if they wanted to run temporary firecrackers shops. “Action will be taken against violators,” he said.