Death toll of India’s firework factory blast climbs to 11; 80 others injured

A screengrab from a video of the firework factory blast shows flames and smoke billowing into the sky. — X/@ChaudharyParvez
A screengrab from a video of the firework factory blast shows flames and smoke billowing into the sky. — X/@ChaudharyParvez
  • Around 15 fire engines are dousing fierce blaze in Harda.
  • Up to 300 people were working at factory, says senior official.
  • Explosions often occur at illegal firecracker workshops in India.

At least 11 people were killed and 80 others were injured Tuesday in a giant explosion at a firework factory in Harda in India’s Madhya Pradesh, according to officials, AFP reported.

Indian broadcasters showed videos and images of a tower of flames after a fireworks plant explosion, with dozens of ambulances sent to evacuate the wounded. Army helicopters were also called in.

“We can confirm seven deaths so far,” an official at Harda district hospital said, asking not to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media. “We have 65 injured admitted here, and have referred 10 others to a bigger hospital.”

According to senior district official Kailash Chand Parte, who was coordinating rescue efforts from the factory, around 15 fire engines were battling the fierce blaze.

“At least eight people had very serious injuries… we are here at the site and focused on rescue work and sending people to the hospitals, so we can’t immediately confirm the number of dead,” Parte told AFP.

“We have managed to rescue about 70 to 75 people with various injuries so far. All of them have been rushed to local government hospitals.”

He said around 200 to 300 people worked at the factory, but it was not known how many were inside at the time of the explosion.

“At least 10 buildings around the complex where the blast happened have been damaged because of the intensity of the explosion”, he added. “The fire is still not under control and we have around 15 fire engines and many rescue workers at the site”.

Explosions often occur in illegal firecracker workshops in India.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav said reports of the explosion were “very sad news” and said medics at burn units in nearby major hospitals had been asked to “make necessary preparations”.

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