The Straits Times
Published on Sep 05, 2012

30 feared dead in Indian fireworks factory blast


CHENNAI, India (AFP) - An explosion at a fireworks factory in southern India left up to 30 people dead and dozens of others with serious burns on Wednesday, fire and medical officials said.

Television footage showed smoke billowing into the sky above a factory in Sivakasi, which is the centre of the Indian fireworks industry some 700km south of the Tamil Nadu state capital Chennai.

Local firefighter Shanmugaraju, who spoke to AFP from the scene, described a "huge explosion" when a small fire in the Om Sivasakthi factory ignited stock in two nearby warehouses.

"Thirty bodies have already been found. Some were factory workers, most of them were local villagers," Mr Shanmugaraju said, explaining that local people had walked towards the factory after the fire broke out.