Eight killed in cracker unit blast in Kerala

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Palakkad (Ker), Feb 1 (PTI) Eight persons were todaykilled and several others injured, some seriously, when anexplosion ripped through a fire cracker unit near Shornur townin Palakkad district, police said.

They said 12 persons were working in the unit when theexplosion occurred. Eight bodies, charred beyond recognition,have been recovered, they said.

The unit was located in an open space close to Shornur-Palakkad railway track on which, railway sources said, a trainhad passed when the blast occurred. They said no passengerwas, however, injured.

Locals said they heard a deafening noise and felt someshock-waves. "We initially thought it was an earthquake, asthe area has sometimes experienced mild tremors", said a localfarm worker.

The fire brigade, police and local people were engaged inthe rescue work. The seriously injured were rushed to theThrissur Medical College Hospital.

As the festival season is around the corner, the unit,owned by a leading supplier of crackers for festivals inthe area, had engaged about 30 workers in the last fewweeks, local people said.

District administration sources said they wereascertaining if the unit had a proper licence.

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