The accidental explosion cost 17 lives on Friday and two more identified as Gopal (30) of Padarnthal, Sattur taluk and Packiyaraj succumbed to burns on Saturday.
Ponnupandi (20), lessee of the unit, has been arrested by Elayirampannai police. Besides, 34 victims lie injured in the horrific aftermath of the explosion, sources said.
Virudhunagar Collector R Kannan said the injured victims are under treatment in hospitals at Sivakasi, Sattur, Kovilpatti and Madurai GRH.
However, inspection reports have been sought from Revenue officials and Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (Peso) to initiate necessary action.
Sattur Revenue Divisional Officer M Kasiselvi said the condition of many of those wounded in the explosion is critical with severe burns. Sixteen bodies have been identified, while three bodies were charred beyond recognition.
The unit owner Santhanamari, who’s absconding, leased out the unit to one person, who sub-leased to four others, who also face charges, in the case.
As of now, victim compensation of Rs 5 lakh and Rs 50,000 as assistance for funeral rites to each of the deceased victim’s families was given from the factory side, the RDO said.
Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives K Sundaresan, Sivakasi, said a three-member team has launched inquiries following the explosion and action would be taken based on reports in a day or two.
The unit was functional under Peso license obtained from Nagpur.
As per norms, only two workers should be allowed inside a small concrete room with a limit of holding five kilos of chemicals for manufacturing crackers and four workers under a shed with a maximum holding capacity of 25 kilos of chemicals for production. It’s one of a few major explosions reported in Virudhunagar district over the years. There’s a huge explosion that rocked Muthalipatti village in Sivakasi on September 5, 2012 and claimed 59 human lives, Sundaresan recalled.
Elayirampannai police booked a case against six persons including owner of the unit, Santhanamari under Sections 308, 304 (ii), 109, 19 (b) of IPC read with 9B1 (a) of Indian Explosives Act.
Explosion at another fireworks unit near Sivakasi; one injured
A 31-year old worker suffered minor injury in the wake of an explosion that occurred in a cracker unit located at Kakkivadanpatti near Sivakasi in Virudhunagar district on Saturday. The injured victim has been identified as Suresh of Poolavoorani village, Sivakasi block, sources said. The minor explosion that occurred a day after a huge explosion at an unit in Achankulam shook the fireworks industry. According to Sivakasi Station Fire Officer KP Balamurugan, 35 brigades rushed to the spot after receiving a fire call at 11 am. After inquiring, he said the explosion occurred in a room, where nobody was inside at the time fortunately. The exact cause behind the explosion is yet to be ascertained. However, the worker got injured while he’s among fellow-workers running away after hearing the explosive sound. A few portions of bricks that were fragmented during the explosion hit the ill-fated worker. The explosion caused damages to one room fully and three other rooms partly, Balamurugan said. Based on a complaint, Maraneri police have filed a case.