NEW DELHI, March 22 (Xinhua) -- At least eight people were killed and 16 others injured, some of them critically, after a blast ripped through a firecracker factory on Wednesday in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
The blast occurred while raw materials used in firecrackers suddenly caught fire at a factory in Kuruvimalai area of Kancheepuram district, about 80 km southwest of Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu.
"Today a blast took place at a firecracker factory in Kuruvimalai area, killing five people on the spot while three others succumbed at the hospital," a local official at the Kancheepuram collectorate office said.
According to officials, 13 of the injured were admitted to the Kancheepuram government hospital, while three were referred to two hospitals in Chennai.
The death toll was likely to increase as some of the injured were in critical condition, they said.
The factory caught fire after the blast and the sound of bursting firecrackers reverberated in the vicinity.
A senior police officer said a building collapsed and rescue work was underway at the factory, where more than 25 people were working when the explosion took place.
Police have registered a case and ordered an investigation to ascertain the cause of the accident. ■