Explosion at a firecracker manufacturing plant in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu.

Explosion at a firecracker manufacturing plant.

11.05-2024, Sat.

On Saturday, May 11, 2024, a devastating explosion ripped through a firecracker manufacturing unit in Ramuthevanpatti, Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu, claiming the lives of at least 10 people and injuring 7 others. 

The blast occurred when employees were mixing chemicals for producing fancy crackers inside the unit. According to a senior official from the Virudhunagar district administration, the explosion took place due to human error, as per the rules, only two people should have been present in the chemical mixing room. However, eight bodies were recovered from the room, indicating that more people were inside or just outside the room, chatting with each other. The impact of the explosion was so severe that seven rooms where the firecrackers were stocked were completely gutted. Police and fire service personnel rushed the injured to the government hospital in Sivakasi.


Chief Minister M.K. Stalin expressed grief over the incident and announced a solatium of Rs 3 lakh each to the families of the deceased. He also directed the district collector to promptly launch a rescue operation and ensure appropriate life-saving treatment for the injured. Sivakasi, known as the “Fireworks Capital of India,” has witnessed several such incidents in the past due to negligence and human error. The city produces around 70% of India’s fireworks and matches, employing over 8 lakh people directly and indirectly. However, the industry has been plagued by issues such as child labor and frequent accidents.


In 1991, a blast in a factory killed 39 people and injured 65 others. In July 2009, more than 40 people were killed in a fire accident, while in August 2011, seven people were killed and five were seriously injured in a similar incident. A fire accident and blast in a private unit in September 2012 killed 40 people and injured 38 others. The common reasons cited for these accidents include inadequate training of workers and supervisors, overstocking of explosives, raw materials, and finished goods, and employing workers in excess of the permitted strength.


The latest explosion has once again highlighted the need for stricter safety measures and better regulation of the firecracker industry in Sivakasi. The state government has ordered a detailed magisterial probe into the incident and formed special teams to nab the owner and manager of the unit, who are currently in hiding.

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