Fatal Blasts Hit 2 Separate Sites Housing Explosives

9 are dead after explosion at Thai fireworks warehouse; 8 die in firecracker plant blast in India
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 29, 2023 9:00 AM CDT
Fatal Blasts Hit 2 Separate Sites Housing Explosives
A man speaks on his phone in front of a house damaged by an explosion at a fireworks warehouse in Narathiwat province in Thailand on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Kriya Tehtani)

A large explosion at a fireworks warehouse in southern Thailand on Saturday killed at least nine people and wounded scores, officials said. The governor of the province of Narathiwat, Sanan Pongaksorn, told public broadcaster Thai PBS that at least 115 people were hurt, and that many were in serious condition. He said about 500 to 800 people who live nearby may have to be moved to a temporary shelter, though he didn't elaborate, per the AP.

Videos posted on social media from the site show a huge plume of smoke over the area and many damaged structures, cars, and motorbikes, as well as streets covered with debris. About 100 residences in the area were also damaged, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Many of the houses and other buildings have collapsed roofs and walls. Sanan said the blast was likely ignited by construction work that was taking place in the warehouse, with flares from metal welding causing the fireworks stored inside to catch fire and explode.

Meanwhile, an explosion ripped through a firecracker factory in southern India on Saturday, killing eight people and wounding several others, police said, per the AP. There was no immediate word as to what had caused the explosion in the district of Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu state. Houses and shops nearby were also damaged, authorities told the Press Trust of India news agency. Rescuers, police, and firefighters rushed to the site.

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India has a huge demand for firecrackers, which are used in religious festivals and weddings. There are fatal accidents nearly every year as people work in makeshift factories in the absence of proper safety standards. In 2018, a massive fire at a firecracker factory in the capital of New Delhi killed 17 workers. A year earlier, 23 workers were killed when a blast occurred while they were making firecrackers in a village in Madhya Pradesh state in central India. Factories start manufacturing firecrackers months before the nation's biggest Hindu festivals, when people set them off in celebration. (More fireworks stories.)

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