Firecracker explosion
[Representational Image]Reuters File

Three people were killed and 15 injured after a minivan transporting fireworks in exploded in Gingee village of Tamil Nadu's Villupuram district, near Chennai, on Monday morning.

The driver of the van, Elavarasan, and the cleaner, Saibaba, were killed in the incident. The identity of the third person is yet to be ascertained. The injured are currently undergoing treatment.

According to a Times of India report, a fire-cracker shop owner in Thiruvannamalai had procured a shipment of fireworks from a unit in Pondicherry, which was being transported by Elavarasan and Saibaba. On Monday morning, they noticed a line of smoke emanating from the back of the van while they were travelling through Villupuram.

Firecracker vendor
An Indian vendor sells fireworks at his stall in a market place during the festival of Diwali (Representational image)Reuters

They immediately stopped the van near a tea shop and asked everyone to back away while they tried pouring water on the smoke, but in vain.  

The explosion was so intense that the van was reduced to smithereens. The Gingee police were immediately alerted of the accident and they rushed to the spot. An investigation has been launched to ascertain the cause of the explosion.