Twenty workers were charred to death and 10 others were injured, two of them critically, in a fire at a cracker factory in Kheri village in Balaghat district this afternoon, an official said. The blaze started around 3 pm in the factory located around 10 kms from the district headquarters in the Kotwali police station limits, additional director general of police (Balaghat range) G Janardhan told PTI.
“Twenty workers were killed in the fire and 10 others sustained injuries. Of the injured, eight have been rushed to Nagpur (in Maharashtra) for treatment, while two are being treated at a hospital in the district,” he added.
The condition of two of the eight injured, referred to Nagpur, is critical, the official said. Meanwhile, Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the next kin of the deceased. The state government would also bear the medical expenses of the injured.
According to Balaghat district collector Bharat Yadav, the cracker factory was owned by one Waris Ahmed and was being run legally. He added that the victims were workers of the factory and the incident took place when the production was on. According to Yadav, the blaze has been completely doused and the rescue operation has also got over. “Exactly what triggered the fire is yet be known. It is possible that someone might have thrown a burning beedi,” he said. Yadav said the factory was located away from the human settlement.