Thiruvananthapuram, India – More than 100 people died and nearly 400 got injured at a temple in India’s southern Kerala state on Sunday when a massive fire swept through during a firework display early Sunday.
People gathered at the Hindu temple in southern India to watch an unauthorized fireworks display to mark the start of the local Hindu New Year. The display began at midnight and went on for hours. Official say the big explosion erupted at around 3 a.m.”An estimated 10,000 people had crammed into the complex to celebrate the start of the local Hindu New Year. As a late night fireworks display was coming to an end, a deafening explosion erupted. It was powerful enough to flatten one of the buildings in the compound.” Reporters from New Delhi said.
“An estimated 10,000 people had crammed into the complex to celebrate the start of the local Hindu New Year. As a late night fireworks display was coming to an end, a deafening explosion erupted. It was powerful enough to flatten one of the buildings in the compound,” reporters from New Delhi said.
A spark unleashed the fire
Kerala’s top elected official, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, said that the fire began when a spark from the firework show fell onto a shed where the rest of the fireworks were stored initiating a string of powerful explosions that blew the roof of the administrative block of the temple and caused another building to collapse.
Chandy said that most of the deaths occurred when the building where the fireworks were stored collapsed. Officials reported that by around 7 a.m., firefighters had the fire under control. Rescuers and thousands of anxious relatives search through the wreckage hoping to find survivors while backhoes cleared the debris and ambulances drove away the injured.
The show was unauthorized
Every year, the temple holds a competitive fireworks display for the last day of a seven-day festival honoring the goddess Bhadrakali, a southern Indian incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kali.
In the display, different groups put on successive light shows for thousands of devotees, however, Authorities in Kollam district said the permission to hold the fireworks display was denied this year because of fears of a possible accident. A. Shainamol, the district’s top official, said they were clearly told that no permission would be given for any kind of firework.
The state chief minister said that they will be investigating how the orders were flouted and who was responsible for the decision to go ahead with the firework display. He added there is a judge order to investigate the events leading to the fire, and that strict action would be taken against those who had ignored rules.
Source: Washington Post