AN EXPLOSION at an illegal firecracker factory in eastern India killed seven workers and injured nine others in the hours before today’s (19) Diwali festival, officials said.
The explosion late last night (18) completely destroyed the makeshift structure after fire touched off the gunpowder and chemical stocks used to make the fireworks in Balasore district of Odisha state, said district magistrate Pramod Kumar Das.
He said several of the injured workers are in a critical condition after the “huge” explosion.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated by lighting lamps and with fireworks.
Explosions often occur in the thousands of illegal backyard and underground workshops that spring up during the festive season.
Last month, nine people were killed in neighbouring Jharkhand state after their workshop was gutted by fire.
India’s firecracker industry, worth nearly one billion dollars a year, is the second largest in the world after China.