A massive explosion at a firework factory in India on Tuesday (6) resulted in the death of at least seven individuals and injuries to 75 others, officials said.
Video images on Indian broadcasters showed a tower of flame reaching high into the sky after the explosion at the firecracker plant, with hospital officials reporting seven dead, dozens of ambulances sent, and army helicopters called in to evacuate the wounded.
“We can confirm seven deaths so far,” an official at Harda district hospital in central Madhya Pradesh state 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.”
Senior district official Kailash Chand Parte, who was coordinating rescue efforts from the factory, said 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.”
“Ambulances are being rushed to Harda from the surrounding areas, and the army has been contacted to arrange for helicopters,” Yadav said in a post on X.
At least 20 ambulances were at the site, with 50 more being sent to help those injured, he added.