Explosion at firecracker factory in India, at least 19 dead

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At least 19 people were killed and 34 injured in an explosion at a firecracker factory in southern India, authorities said on Saturday.

The explosion, which occurred on Friday afternoon in the district of Virudhunagar, is one of the most serious accidents of this type to have occurred in recent years in the state of Tamil Nadu (South).

A local official, R. Kannan, told AFP that the death toll is likely to increase in the coming hours.

At the time of the explosion, 74 people were in the factory, he said. Among the injured, “some have severe burns,” he said.

According to press reports, the factory did not have legal authorization to operate. The news portal The Newsminute reported that the owner was missing and that police were investigating the causes of the crash.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the families of the deceased would receive aid of 200,000 rupees (2,260 euros).