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Indian firecracker factory explosion kills 22

05 September 2019

The death toll in a blast at a firecracker factory on September 4 has been put at 22 by local officials, with 20 others injured at Batala in the Gurdaspur district of India's northern state of Punjab. 

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

Some are feared trapped in the rubble and teams of police and India's National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force were pressed into service to extricate them.

A large stock of firecrackers were stored inside the factory and the initial explosion led to the whole factory being engulfed in a huge fire. Local media quoted a senior policeman as saying that among the dead were workers of the factory and one of the factory owners, as well as passers-by on the road outside the factory.

Local media reported that the same factory also caught fire last year.

It was not clear if the factory in the northern state of Punjab was a legal facility or one of the many illegal fireworks factories dotted across the country with lax safety standards.

Explosions are common in illegal firecracker workshops, particularly during the Hindu autumn festival of Diwali- which usually falls between October to November and creates large demand for fireworks.

Many of these factories do not adhere to basic safety requirements and operate without permits.

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