HYDERABAD: Ten workers, including five women were charred to death and one person was injured in a fire that broke out in a firecracker manufacturing unit situated at Kotilingala area on the outskirts of Warangal city here on Wednesday. Three of those dead were charred beyond recognition.
The impact of the fire and blast was such that bodies were scattered all around the firecracker unit. Some of the bodies were badly mutilated and were beyond recognition. It is learnt that two customers were also present inside the unit when the blast took place as a car was found near the unit.
The broken pieces of the roof of the shed and crackers were even found 200 to 400 yards away from the unit. A 70-year-old woman's leg got fractured when a huge sheet of the factory's roof fell on her house and leading to collapse of her house.
Window panes of many houses were shattered due to the impact of the blast. According to eyewitnesses, for over 20 minutes, the firecrackers burnt continuously creating panic in the entire area. The situation would have been more serious if the fire crackers had reached Indane LPG godown situated just 500 yards from the accident site.
The fire, suspected to have been caused by short circuit, broke out around 10.45 am and within few minutes everything was destroyed. Six fire tenders were pressed into service and within two hours the fire was brought under control. Local person, Gullapalli Kumar alias Bombala Kumar, had been running the firecracker unit, under the name Bhadrakali Fireworks, for the past 15-years. A small fire incident took place few years ago when the unit was run from 100 feet road area in the city, however, there was no casualty at that time.
According to Warangal rural district collector M Haritha, 10 bodies were recovered from the site and a person was rescued and sent to MGM Hospital for treatment. "Though the unit falls under Warangal rural district, it has to acquire all permission with regard to fire safety measures from Warangal commissionerate. I have asked the police commissioner to crosscheck details of all the valid permissions required. Necessary action will be taken," she stated.
Police commissioner V Ravinder, who inspected the site, stated that daily about 15 people used to work and so far 10 bodies had been recovered. "We are looking into all the angles. Once we recover all the bodies, we would be knowing the exact number of deaths. We would also interrogate the owner of the firecracker unit and the fire safety measures taken by him. As per findings in the probe, action would be initiated," he said.
District fire officer Bhagvan Reddy stated that the firecracker unit had all the relevant documents and licenses. "We would again verify everything and see whether the owner had violated any norms. As per preliminary investigation, it looks like it caused due to short circuit," he stated.