Andhra firecrackers unit blast toll mounts to 16

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Hyderabad: The toll in Monday’s blast in firecrackers-making unit in Andhra Pradesh rose to 16 ,with four injured succumbing at a hospital since Monday night, police said Tuesday.

The dead include 13 women, all workers of the unit. Three injured are undergoing treatment at a hospital in Kakinada town while three other workers are said to be missing.

The accident took place in a building in coastal East Godavari district’s Vakatippa village, about 25 km from Kakinada. A burning cigarette is suspected to have led to fire in the unit where crackers were being manufactured illegally.

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While 11 people were charred to death, an injured succumbed Monday night at a private hospital in Kakinada. Four more injured breathed their late Monday night and early Tuesday.

Two sheds of the unit, which was manufacturing firecrackers for the coming Diwali festival, were completely gutted in the fire. Police were looking into complaints that three more workers went missing.

Expressing shock over the incident, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu announced Rs.2 lakh compensations to the families of each of those killed.

Naidu also ordered probe into the incident. He said if the manufacturing unit was found to be functioning illegally, strict action will be taken against its owner.

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