Kochi, India: An illegal firecracker storage in Tripunithura resulted in a massive explosion, causing the death toll to rise to two on Monday evening. The deceased have been identified as Thiruvananthapuram native Vishnu (27) and Divakaran (55).
Vishnu succumbed to burn injuries soon after the tragedy, while Divakaran was declared dead at a government medical college later in the evening. The mishap occurred when crackers were being stored in the warehouse for an ongoing festival at a local temple, leaving nearly 23 people injured, including women and children, according to the police.
The Hill Palace police have registered a case against five individuals, including three officials of the shrine management, in connection with the incident. Additionally, the State Human Rights Commission has initiated its own investigation into the firecracker mishap based on media reports, directing the Ernakulam district collector and city police commissioner to submit a report within 15 days.
As the investigation unfolds, the president, secretary, and treasurer of the Puthiyakavu Devi Temple, as well as the firecracker contractor, are facing charges. The police have also taken four individuals into custody for interrogation.
The illegal storage of firecrackers and gunpowder in a shed by the contractor, allegedly under the instruction of temple officials, was reported in the police FIR. However, the exact cause of the explosion is still under investigation, with forensic experts examining the site for evidence.
Health department sources have reported serious conditions for four injured individuals admitted to the local medical college. Additionally, the explosion caused severe damage to surrounding houses and shops, as well as the destruction of two vehicles.
Despite the ongoing investigation, residents in the area are struggling to recover from the impact of the unexpected explosion. The local community has suffered extensive property damage, leaving many questioning the safety of operating a firecracker warehouse in a residential area.
As authorities continue to investigate the incident, the focus remains on uncovering the exact cause of the explosion and addressing the repercussions for the affected community.