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Indian firework factory explosion kills 17

23 October 2014

An explosion at a fireworks factory in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on October 20 killed at least 17 people, police said. The blast started a fire that destroyed the Manikanta Fireworks factory in the village of Vakatippa in East Godavari district. Firecrackers were being made by casual workers without the correct permits when the explosion happened.

Stock image
Stock image

Rescue workers took out the bodies and sent 10 severely injured workers to a neighbouring hospital, police said. Some had been thrown into neighbouring fields by the force of the blast, with 14 of the dead being women.

Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister N Chinnarajappa told the Press Trust of India that the factory had broken rules by employing too many staff members.

"Thirty persons were present at the site when the explosion occurred. There is a limit according to law, but excess workers were present... It is an unfortunate incident," the minister said.
The preliminary inquiry revealed that the owner of Manikanta Fireworks was running the factory on an expired license, which revenue officers had refused to renew in March this year.

Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister N Chinna Rajappa announced compensation for the families of those who lost their lives in the accident as well asmedical support for those undergoing treatment in the hospital.

Accidental explosions are common at Indian factories making fireworks for weddings, religious festivals and other ceremonies.

At least 34 people were killed and 30 others injured in a massive blaze at a fireworks factory in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in 2012 and in 2009, 16 people were killed in a blast in a firecracker factory in Tamil Nadu.

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