On Friday afternoon, an explosion at Sree Maariyamman fireworks factory in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, killed at least 11 people and injured several others. According to reports, many more people are still trapped inside the factory, while the injured have been taken to the Sivakasi Government Hospital.
According to police, the incident took place while the staffs of the privately owned factory were mixing chemicals for the fireworks and immediately after ten fire-fighting units rushed to the spot to douse the fire. While initial investigation suggests that the factory was not strictly adhering to the safety rules, which could have led to the fire, further investigation is underway.
Meanwhile, offering condolences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his thoughts are with the bereaved families. He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 Lakh each to the kin of the deceased. “Fire at a firecracker factory in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu is saddening. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. I hope those injured recovers soon. Authorities are working on the ground to assist those affected,” Modi wrote in a tweet.
“An ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each has been approved from PMNRF (Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund) for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to a fire in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu. Rs. 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured,” he added.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also appealed to the Tamil Nadu government to provide immediate rescue, support, and relief. “Heartfelt condolences to the victims of the firecracker factory fire in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu. It’s heart-wrenching to think of those still trapped inside,” he wrote on Twitter. Virudhunagar District Collector R Kannan said that the license of the factory would be suspended.