Six people including the owner of the fireworks factory have been arrested in connection with the major fire that gutted the firework factory in Sivakasi on Wednesday, police said.
"Six people have been arrested in connection with the firecracker unit accident. The arrests include Paul Pandi who had taken the property on lease where he operated the cracker unit," an official told IANS.
The death toll of the huge blaze in the fire factory mounted to 39 as three more people succumbed to their injuries on Thursday. The investigation into the fire incident, where more than 70 people were injured, revealed that the plant caught fire a day after the Tamil Nadu government cancelled the license of the factory.
According to an NTDV report, the Explosives Department in the state suspended the license as the factory violated more than 40 safety norms. Operations continued in full swing with Diwali festivities ahead, reports said.
The major fire broke when workers of the factory were engaged in the mixing of chemicals to make fancy crackers. As many as 300 workers were present at the time of the explosion. The fire dented 40 sheds located in the same complex and many workers were reportedly trapped under the debris.
Reports said that majority of the people who succumbed to death were bystanders hit by stones and other material that flew out of the factory. The toll is expected to rise as police suspect that many workers are still trapped and several of the injured people suffer more than 40 percent burns.
Tamil Nadu government has announced an ex gratia payment of ₹200,000 each to the family of deceased and ₹25,000 and ₹10,000 to those seriously injured and those with minor injuries respectively.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed his condolence in wake of the recent tragedy. "The prime minister has expressed deep shock over the Sivakasi fireworks tragedy in which many lives were lost in Tamil Nadu this (Wednesday) morning," said a release from prime minister's office.