Friday, Jan 30, 2015Friday, Jan 30, 2015

Indian police arrest 6 after fireworks blaze kills 38

Published on Sep 6, 2012 4:14 PM

CHENNAI, India (AFP) - Indian police arrested six people on Thursday and were hunting for the boss of a fireworks factory where 38 people were killed in a blaze that highlighted the industry's lax safety standards.

Firefighters battled for hours to control the fire that broke out on Wednesday afternoon at Om Sivasakthi plant in Sivakasi, the centre of the Indian fireworks industry, 700km from the southern port of Chennai.

Senior police officer Najmul Hoda listed a string of violations in the plant, adding that its production licence had been revoked but operations had continued regardless. "Not more than 160 people are allowed to work, but there were around 400 persons inside the premises," he told reporters at the scene.

The fire safety system had not functioned when an initial fire broke out - reportedly because of a mistake in mixing chemicals - and the premises had been sub-let to a third party, which is illegal. "The original owner cannot leave the factory to someone else," Mr Hoda said, adding that police were trying to track down the owner for questioning.

If you are not a subscriber, you can get instant, unlimited access here