A huge fire broke out at Puttingal Temple at Paravaur, Kerala, killing around 105 and injuring hundreds, as reported by local media. The fire took place around 3:30 am on Sunday.
Reportedly, the fire could have been caused by the blast in the firework stockpile which was readied for the temple celebration. The fire display began in the temple at midnight and went on for hours.
Every year the temple organises an annual firework display competition and different groups put on successive light shows for devotees gathered for the last day of celebration honouring the goddess Bhadra Kali, a Hindu Goddess.
According to eyewitnesses, the fire started when a cracker meant to explode in the sky fell to the ground and its sparks flew everywhere. The spark reached the storehouse which ignited the firecrackers stored there, reported The Hindu. The Fire spread fast and brought down a building and also caused damaged to several other structures in the neighbourhood.
The crowd gathered in the temple remained clueless about the magnitude of the tragedy as there was a power disruption followed by the fire. However, the locals showed prompt action joining rescue operation. They extricated bodies from the debris and pulled out the injured.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that this year’s competition took place without the permission of district authorities. Chandy cancelled his campaign for polls that started in May and rushed to the scene.
Chandy said, “There was no permission to even store the fireworks.”
The contractor of the firework who himself got injured in the fire told media that he was forced to conduct the show by the temple authorities and locals.
Police informed that they had registered a case against the temple trust office-bearers and the contractor. The office-bearers were not available for comments.
Prime Minister Narendra stated that he would reach the state soon. He asked the Union Health Minister JP Nadda to “immediately reach the site”, as reported by Hindustan Times.
Kerala has hundreds of temples and managed by rich and powerful trusts that often ignore local regulations.
Famous Indian Cricketer Virat Kohli tweeted praying for the victims.
The incident is an example of sheer negligence. This year was a different story for Australian. The Victoria bushfire kept Australia in anxiety which prompted the authorities to cancel the firework display during New Year’s Eve, across the region.