Virudhunagar: Five persons, including three women, were killed and four injured in a blast at a firecracker manufacturing unit in Vetrilaiurani Village near Sattur here on Saturday.
Official sources said the cracker unit – Nagamalli Fireworks – is owned by Sakthishanmugam, a resident of Mani Nagar at Sivakasi Taluk in Virudhunagar district, and licensed by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation. There are 15 working sheds in the cracker unit and it employs nearly 70 workers.
The mishap took place on Saturday morning, when one of the workers, Shanmugavel (40), hailing from Melaotampatti village, was mixing chemicals required to manufacture crackers inside the chemical mixing room. Suddenly, there was an explosion, caused due to friction. Shanmugavel sustained severe burns and died on the spot. The chemical mixing room was completely demolished.
The spark from the blast, meanwhile, landed on the crackers kept in nearby sheds, leading to another explosion, killing Paulraj (45), Murugeshwari (21), Kalarani (38) from Vetrilaiurani and Vijaya (35) from Melakothainachiyarpuram on the spot. Four persons – Parvathy (40), Ilavarasi (18), Sankaramoorthy (40) and Anandammal (55) from Vetrilaiurani village – sustained injuries and were admitted to Government Sivakasi Hospital.
Three sheds were also damaged in the blast. Later, fire and rescue service personnel arrived and recovered the five bodies from among the debris. SP M Rajarajan and District Revenue Officer C Muthukumaran inspected the cracker unit. Mahendran, the foreman of the unit, surrendered later. Relatives of the deceased staged a protest in front of the cracker unit, seeking compensation. They withdrew their stir as the cracker unit administration assured to give compensation to the family members.
In the afternoon, Minister for Milk and Dairy Development K T Rajendra Balaji, along with Collector A Sivagnanam and SP Rajarajan, visited the Government Sivakasi Hospital and spoke to the family members of the deceased. The Minister also handed over a cheque of `5.50 lakh each given by the cracker unit management to the kin.