India fireworks factory fire kills nine workers

Residents gathering at the site of a blast at a fireworks factory that killed nine labourers, in Warangal, Telangana state, on July 4, 2018.
Residents gathering at the site of a blast at a fireworks factory that killed nine labourers, in Warangal, Telangana state, on July 4, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - A powerful blast tore through a fireworks factory in southern India on Wednesday (July 4), killing nine labourers who had just reported for work, police said.

The manufacturing unit in Warangal district of Telangana state burst into flames soon after the workers entered at about 11am, a local police official said.

"We have counted the bodies of nine people. Four others are injured and are undergoing treatment," police spokesman Mohana Krishna told AFP.

Images showed thick black fumes billowing out of the factory premises, with one of its gates shattered by the impact of the explosion.

Firefighters battled to douse the flames and rescue those trapped, but some victims were charred beyond recognition by the time they were reached. Local media reports said the explosion was likely triggered by an electrical short circuit.

Workplace accidents are common in India, due to poor safety standards and lax enforcement of regulations.

In January, 17 workers died in a fire at a plastic manufacturing facility in New Delhi and 13 people lost their lives last November in northern Ludhiana city in a similar accident.