At least 17 factory workers, mostly women, lost their lives when a firecracker factory in Andhra Pradesh's Kakinada town caught fire on Monday, three days ahead of the Diwali festival.
The incident took place in Manikanta Fireworks at Vakatippa village in East Godavari district. The accident killed at least 11 on Monday, while another six succumbed to burn injuries early on Tuesday morning at a Kakinada hospital. Of the 17 workers who lost their lives in the explosion, 14 were women.
At least 30 workers were working in the factory when the explosion took place, with intensity so strong that the workers were thrown away into the nearby fields.
"We were working inside, when it happened so suddenly. We were thrown a huge distance," NDTV quoted a worker, who survived the blast that reportedly took place because of chemical reactions while manufacturing crackers.
As the fire was strong and spreading rapidly, nine of the workers died on spot. Also, it took nearly two hours to put off the fire as the inflammable materials inside the factory were feeding the flames according to The Economic Times report.
The preliminary inquiry revealed that the owner of Manikanta Fireworks Koppisetty Appa Rao was running the factory on an expired license, which the revenue officers had refused to renew in March this year. He had also hired women workers on a daily wage of ₹150.
As a result of running the business illegally, he has been booked under section 304 (2) 309 under the Explosive Act, Deccan Chronicle reported.
Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister N Chinna Rajappa has announced compensation of ₹2 lakh each to the family of those who lost their lives in the accident and handed out medical support to those undergoing treatment in the hospital.