Kerala temple fire: Impact felt at a 1.5 KM radius, cops probe use of potassium chlorate

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New Delhi, April 12: The impact of the explosion at the Puttingal temple was such that it was felt at a radius of 1.5 kilometres. What caused such a loud explosion? The Chief Controller of Explosives, Sudarshan Kamal said yesterday in Kerala that the use of banned chemicals in the firecrackers created such an impact.

Read more: Kerala fire tragedy: Five Puttingal officials surrender

While the forensic sciences laboratory report is yet to come out, prima facie it has been found that potassium chlorate was used in the firecrackers.

 Ker fire:Impact felt at a 1.5 KM radius

This was found in the set of firecrackers that were stocked up and meant to be used in the final round of the show.

What caused the impact?

It was found that a several crackers that had been stocked up had caught fire leading to this huge explosion. There is a firecracker competition at the temple and each time tries to better the other. In order to better the other team, it is ensured that the sound of the firecrackers are louder.

The police say that they are questioning the contractors to find out if any of the members of the team had instructed them to increase the capacity of the firecrackers. In this context the contractor may have added potassium chlorate which is a banned chemical. Moreover the norms do not permit the use of this chemical in firecrackers in India.

Read more: PHOTOS : Kerala Temple Tragedy

The impact was so loud that it could be felt at a radius of 1.5 kilometres. The storage unit which caught fire led to the series of explosions which left over 100 dead. It was also found that some of the rockets that were fired during the display may have landed on the storage unit thus triggering off the explosions. The storage room was not guarded properly, the police have alleged.

Potassium Chlorate:
The use of potassium chlorate was banned in the firecracker industry in the year 1990. This was banned as the experts had stated that the chemical is a highly sensitive one. It is extremely sensitive to temperature and friction and hence it was banned in 1990.

According to wikipedia, Potassium chlorate is a compound containing potassium, chlorine and oxygen atoms, with the molecular formula KClO3. In its pure form, it is a white crystalline substance. It is the most common chlorate in industrial use. It is used as an oxidizing agent, to prepare oxygen, as a disinfectant, in safety matches, in explosives and fireworks.

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