Cuddalore Firework Factory Explosion
At around 11 am on the 4th of September 2020, a fireworks factory in the Kattumannarkovil town near the Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu exploded, leaving 5 dead and 2 seriously injured only to be confirmed dead later. As per the initial reports, all the deceased were believed to be women hailing from Kurungudi, a town in Cuddalore. All the remaining injured were immediately rushed to the Kattumannarkovil Government Hospital, which happened to be the closest hospital to the site of the explosion. The severity of the explosion was such that the limbs of the victims were flung far away and most suffered burns that charred the bodies beyond recognition.
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edappadi K Palanisami expressed his condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and announced a solatium of 2 lakh rupees to each of them. This sum is to be retrieved from the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund. He has given further reassurance that the Industries Minister, M. C. Sampath and the Collector of Cuddalore, Mr Chandra Shekhar Sakhamuri were directed to relieve and rush the injured to the hospital.
As per local reports, the shockwaves created by the explosion were felt close to 5 kilometres away from the spot of the explosion itself. The fire department was also hailed to the site of the incident.
The Collector of Cuddalore has said that the pyrotechnic manufacturing plant in question did not have a valid license to handle explosives, rather, it had expired in the month of March 2020. The unit had a license to handle light explosives, which had been functioning for the last 30 years however the license had expired and had not been renewed since. Operations to bring unauthorized pyrotechnic equipment had begun on Friday as the Sub-Collector had noticed that the site was vacant on a visit a few days prior.
According to evidence collected by the police department, the fire broke out and the fireworks that were collected in premises had been set off and exploded, causing a massive collapse of the concrete structure that was the factory. The cause of this is believed to be mishandling of chemicals, resulting in a fiery explosion. The SP of Cuddalore has been quoted saying that he would strengthen the existing mechanism which was employed to prevent such an incident from happening. Previously, go-downs were inspected quarterly.
All that remains is debris from the explosion.
Reporter: Aravind Krishna