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Indian fireworks factory explodes

31 dead and more than 70 injured

SIVAKASI, India | September 5, 2012

An explosion and fire at a fireworks factory in southern India has claimed the lives of at least 31 people and injured more than 70 others, police said.

Hundreds of workers were inside the Om Sakthi Fireworks factory in Sivakasi when the first blast occurred, India's NDTV reported Wednesday.

Witnesses said all 60 rooms of the factory were gutted, including 20 rooms where chemicals were stored.

A portion of the factory's manufacturing unit collapsed, trapping many of the employees.

Fire and rescue services could not get near the factory initially because of fear that more explosions would occur, The Times of India reported.

The death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers comb through the rubble.

Police said Om Sakthi Fireworks was involved in making fancy fireworks that are more dangerous than those that simply make loud noises.

Sivakasi is India's largest hub for the manufacture of matches and firecrackers.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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