At least 31 people were killed and more than 70 injured when a fireworks factory at Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu, India, caught fire Wednesday, the local media reported.
The death toll could rise further as it is believed that more than 300 people were inside the Om Siva Sakthi Crackers factory in Mudalipetti, near Sivakasi, when the fire broke out. The injured were being shifted to hospitals in Sivakasi and Madurai.
According to an NDTV report, 40 out of 60 rooms in the factory were gutted, and rescue operations were on. The fire spread to nearby buildings too.
The firefighters were moving cautiously as the chances of further explosions were high. The fire spread to a storage space near the factory. Witnesses said explosions were being heard.
"The fire has been brought under control now. Blast and explosions went on for quite some time, so we couldn't go in. Fire fighters will go in now," Najmul Huda, superintendent of police, Sivakasi, was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Children are also feared to be among the dead as the fireworks factories in Sivakasi are notorious for employing children.
Sivakasi is India's largest hub of crackers and matchbox manufacturing, and the work was at full swing to meet the demand for Diwali, the festival of lights, in October.
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