At least two persons were killed and 14 injured, 13 of them seriously, in an explosion that took place in a small fireworks unit in the Porlukatta area in Nellore rural police station limits on Saturday.
The unit, which was being illegally run in a poorly constructed hut, spread over hardly an extent of 150 sq yards, was reduced to ashes under the impact of the high intensity blast.
Officials could not immediately establish the cause of the blast. They suspect that the use of a huge quantity of explosive material like magnesium and phosphorous caused the explosion.
The likely source of ignition, they said, could be low heat generated while using a drilling machine to fill explosive material in cracker caps, careless smoking or making tea inside the hut.
District Collector R. Mutyala Raju, who visited the spot, told The Media that immediate steps were taken to provide first aid and preliminary medical help to the victims.
The victims were rushed to the DSR Government General Hospital. The deceased have been identified as Yatagiri Nagaraju and Lakshmaiah, both 30, residents of a slum near the spot.
Most victims were tribals
Of the injured, except 16-year-old Srikanth, who suffered 10 to 15 per cent burns, all others suffered burns over 80 per cent. They were ‘Challa Yanadi’ tribals earning ₹ 250 to ₹ 300 a day.
Following instructions from Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Municipal Administration Minister P. Narayana, the authorities shifted the injured to the Narayana Super Speciality Hospital, where a 30-member team of speciality doctors was formed to provide quality treatment.
Additional SP B. Sarath Babu, Nellore Rural DSP Thirumaleswara Reddy and other officials visited the accident spot.