Two dead, another two sustain severe burn injuries in cracker blast near Sivakasi in TN

According to sources, the explosion took place at 9.15 am at Supreme Fireworks, Kalaiyarkurichi, when workers were unloading gunpowder.
Supreme Fireworks, a Nagpur-licensed cracker manufacturing unit, is spread across 28 acres on the outskirts of Kalaiyarkurichi village. The unit has been functioning for over 40 years.
Supreme Fireworks, a Nagpur-licensed cracker manufacturing unit, is spread across 28 acres on the outskirts of Kalaiyarkurichi village. The unit has been functioning for over 40 years.Photo | Express

VIRUDHUNAGAR: Two labourers were charred to death, while two others sustained severe burn injuries in an explosion at a cracker manufacturing unit near Sivakasi on Tuesday. The deceased were identified as P Mariappan (45) and T Muthumurugan (45). Chief Minister M K Stalin expressed his condolences and announced a solatium of Rs 3 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh each to the injured.

According to sources, the explosion took place at 9.15 am at Supreme Fireworks, Kalaiyarkurichi, when workers were unloading gunpowder. The injured workers, K Saroja (50) of Sithanayakkanpatti and K Sankaravel (52) of Sevalur, sustained 90% burns and were rushed to the Sivakasi government hospital nearby.

However, their families alleged that treatment was delayed as they then had to be shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital in Virudhunagar, 25km away, as specialist doctors were not available at the Sivakasi hospital. Family members and villagers gathered at the Virudhunagar facility questioned the lack of specialist doctors at the Sivakasi GH when there are thousands of cracker units in the town.

Supreme Fireworks, a Nagpur-licensed cracker manufacturing unit, is spread across 28 acres on the outskirts of Kalaiyarkurichi village. The unit has been functioning for over 40 years.

No plastic surgeon at Sivakasi GH for three weeks: Official

The unit has over 60 rooms, which were occupied by nearly 190 workers. “The explosion occurred inside one room. Other rooms sustained no damage,” official sources said.

Upon information, fire and rescue personnel reached the spot and recovered the bodies of the deceased. Based on a complaint by VAO Shanthi, M Pudupatti police arrested foreman Gunasekaran, and manager Panneerselvam. They were subsequently remanded in judicial custody. A case has been filed against the cracker unit owner T Murugavel.

Speaking to TNIE, P Pannerselvam (49), brother-in-law of Saroja, said his injured relative was shifted to Virudhunagar nearly an hour after she was admitted to the Sivakasi GH. “Due to a lack of plastic surgeons, people injured in cracker unit blasts have to be shifted to the Virudhunagar GMCH, which is nearly 25 km away,” he said.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a health department official admitted that the post of a plastic surgeon, who administers treatment like skin grafting to burn victims, has been vacant at the Sivakasi GH for nearly three weeks now. The official added that many doctors appointed at the GH had opted for transfers as they prefer working in metropolitan cities.

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