60 dead, 200 injured in Kerala temple firework mishap

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Kollam (Kerala), April 10 (IANS) Sixty people were dead and more than 200 injured after firecrackers caused a massive fire at the Puttingal temple in the coastal town of Paravur located about 60 kms from the state capital, early on Sunday.

The gruesome incident occurred around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Eyewitness said that the fireworks display started close to midnight and when nearing its close, a spark from a cracker landed in a building that had stored some high potency crackers and it caught fire causing a massive explosion.

“The normal practice is to store the high potency crackers in the building and from there it’s taken to the place where their is light. A spark from a live cracker landed in the building that stored these massive crackers,” Kunjumon, a local believer, said.

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Following this, the building collapsed and that was the prime reason for the number of casualties to increase.

Those in the know of things revealed that generally there is firework display competition, but according to local legislator P.K. Gurudasan, there was no competition but it was just a firework display, generally associated with any temple festival and one is not clear if there was any sanction for this display.

State Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar said around 60 injured have been brought to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital.

“Numerous people are under treatment in hospitals at Kollam. The health department is fully geared to provide the necessary treatment,” said Sivakumar.

Meanwhile, Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala announced financial assistance to the dead and the injured. He said judicial probe would be ordered soon.

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The fire has been brought under control.

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