Chennai, Oct 17: At least 13 people were killed and many others injured in explosions at two separate blasts at firecracker manufacturing hub Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu's Virudhunagar district on Tuesday, police said.
With Diwali nearing, the firecracker units at Sivakasi are busy and recording brisk sales.
According to police, one blast occurred in a cracker shop and the other in a cracker factory - Kanishar fireworks in Pudupatti while the second explosion occurred at Arya Fireworks Factory in Kichanayakanpatti.
The police and fire personnel had a tough time in extinguishing the fire at the firecracker units.
Police sources told IANS that the accident occurred when the firecrackers were sample tested as they were not properly dried due to the rainy weather in Sivakasi area during the past few days.
In the accident at Kichanayakanpatti, one of the killed persons was identified as Vembu.
Police said that the identities of the other deceased are not known and that they are in the process of identifying them.
Virudhunagar police officials told media persons that in wake of the explosions, some workers had ran away and hence the identifying process of the dead bodies are on.
Many people are admitted at Srivilliputhur Government Hospital. Police have arrested the foreman of the unit, Gurumurthy while the search is on for the owner of the unit , Muthuvijyan is absconding.
Chief Minister M.K. Stalin announced a solatium of Rs 3 lakhs to the families of the deceased. He also announced an amount of Rs 1 lakh for the injured in the firecracker accidents.
A week before, seven people have lost their lives in a firecracker unit explosion at Sivakasi and in the past 15 days, 30 people have lost their lives in five separate incidents of firecracker explosions.
Sivakasi is known is the firecracker capital of India with an annual turnover of around Rs 6,000 crore.