Eleven dead and more than 100 injured in explosion at fireworks factory in India

Eleven dead and more than 100 injured in explosion at fireworks factory in India

A fire at a fireworks factory in central India has killed eleven people and injured around 150 others in a series of explosions.

Videos on social media showed smoke and flames billowing from the factory as people fled the area in fear.

The cause of the fire in Harda in the state of Madhya Pradesh was not immediately clear, said state officials.

Chief minister Mohan Yadav told a local television channel that at least six people died.

Dozens of ambulances were deployed to the scene, while army helicopters were also requested.

About 40 people were injured and others were feared to be trapped, local official Rishi Garg told the Press Trust of India news agency, but this figure was later revised upwards.

The injured victims were rushed to a nearby hospital to receive urgent medical treatment.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Abdul Rayees Khan, of the local Harda Kotwali police station, told Indian media that many casualties had occurred from a stampede in the aftermath of the explosion.

"These are the people who died primarily as a result of a stampede following the blast; we have yet to reach the actual blast site because a fire has broken out and firefighters are working to extinguish it," he said.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi said in a statement he was “distressed” by the news.

“Condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones. May those injured recover at the earliest. The local administration is assisting all those affected.”

There is a huge demand in India for fireworks, which are used in religious festivals and weddings.

An explosion at a firecracker factory in southern India last July killed eight people, while in 2018, a large fire at a firecracker factory in New Delhi killed 17 workers.

A year earlier, a blast killed 23 people while they were making firecrackers in a village in Madhya Pradesh state in central India.