Madurai: Three men were killed when a blast took place in a fireworks factory at a remote village in Virudhunagar district, police said on Saturday.
The workers were mixing chemicals for making some fancy firework when the blast occurred due to friction at the unit in Sindapalli village near Sattur, about 80 km from here, last evening, they said.
The intensity of the blast was so powerful that the bodies of the workers were blown to pieces and flung several feet away. The shed where they were working was razed to the ground, District Collector TN Hariharan said.
One of the victims had reported for regular work only yesterday after training.
The workers had mixed the chemicals, before tea break, and when they returned and picked them up for packing, it exploded, police said.
About 100 workers were in the factory when the incident occurred, they said, adding three persons, working in an adjacent shed, received minor injuries.
The incident, the second this month, has brought to focus again the issue of recurring fatal mishaps in fireworks units.
On January 2, a 42-year-old worker was killed and two others were seriously injured in a blast at a firework factory near Alangudi in Pudukottai district.
In Virudhunagar district, especially Sivakasi and its belt, the national hub of fireworks units, witnesses recall recurring accidents in cracker units several of them due to alleged lack of proper training in handling chemicals and safety measures.
In a major incident, 36 persons were charred to death and 73 injured when a devastating fire swept through a fireworks factory complex at Mudhalipatti near Sivakasi in September last year. Eleven persons were killed in a blast at a fireworks unit near Salem on December 25.
Concerned over loss of lives in recurring mishaps, the state government on January 3 last announced formation of a mobile monitoring committee that will undertake various tasks including safety checks.