Sivakasi (Tamil Nadu), Oct 20: Ahead of Diwali festival this month-end, eight persons, among them six women, were burnt to death and about 20 others were injured when fire crackers exploded on Thursday at a wholesale shop in this Tamil Nadu town, police said here.
"The accident occurred around 2.00 p.m when the crackers were being loaded on a truck and one of the bundles caught fire, leading to multiple explosions," Sivakasi East police station chief R. Perumal told IANS.
Sivakasi town in Virudhunagar district, about 540 km from Chennai in the state's southern region, is the largest manufacturing centre of firecrackers and matches in the country, especially for festivals like Diwali and other ceremonies.
"Unfortunately, most of the victims were from a medical scanning centre next to the crackers shop in the town's congested locality. Crackers in the shop and the truck exploded when a spark lit one of the bundles and its fire spread quickly around the spot," said Perumal.
When crackers in the shop and the truck exploded, emitting huge smoke and loud noise, the truck's diesel tank too caught fire and burnt the vehicle down.
"We have registered a case against the agency's owner and its employees for the explosions and causing death and destruction of public property," added Perumal.