14 burnt alive in Crackers shop building razed by Fire department ,Three arrested

Pramesh S Jain & Dr.Thomas (Special Correspondent)

While a team of FSL officials still probing to ascertain the cause of he fire killing 14 people and injuring several others,a 21-year-old labourer who witnessed the horrible accident and lost 8 of his relatives in the accident, told the police that a spark from the cracker box which is being taken inside the godown to store , led to the fire .

Logashwaran,a native of Ammanapatti village in Dharmapuri district said that he along with 10 of his relatives had come to work as salesman in Sri Balaji traders situated close to Attibele border,got a call from Naveen Reddy two days ago offering sales job for Rs. 600 a day wage along with food and accommodation.

Logeshwaran said that the group would come to work every year on deepawali season to sell crackers.

There were other labouers including 12 from vaniyambadi and five from Kallurchi had joined the work by them.

Saturday at around 7:30 am he along with his relatives reported to work and were told to unload the crackers . They worked for few hours and took a break for lunch at around 1 pm .

After lunch time he started unloading from the truck which had come from TN with the consignment,he told the police.

While Naveen and manager Lokesh were standing near the cash counter supervising the unloading work .

Thanking his stars,he said that he had come out from godown to pick up the box,while his relatives carried the boxes inside.

Few seconds later a spark from the box ignited the fire and soon spread acorss,Naveen who sustained burn injuries on his hands came out running and other started running helter-skelter.

The fire soon engulfed and with crackers sound followed by thick smoke engulfed the area.Few of my relative Bhimrao Ramji along with few women working backside ran to safety from the backgate.

I can hear the screams and shouts for help from outside but could not help as by then the fire engulfed the entire godown.

Few minutes later,the fire force officials came and resuced four of the labouters struck inside the godown and taken them to the hospital for treating burn injuries .

However the other who are storing the boxes and packing and pasting sitckers could not come out due to haphazard dumping of boxes inside the godown.

Eight of my relatives who had come to work with me were charred to death beyond recognition,while the other deceased are from vaniyambadi and kallurchi who had come to work with us,Logeshwaran,said .

The truck which parked in front of the godown for unloading the crakers along with two other goods vehicles and five bikes were gutted in the fire.

The owner of the godown,Ramaswamy reddy and his son,Naveen despite knowing that imminent danger of fire,they not briefed us about the safety measures nor the godown has any fire extinguisher or safety gadgets for fire fighitng.

The structure was very badly designed and there were no space for proper ventilation or entry and exit doors, he said .

Based on his statement the police have registered a case against Ramaswamy Reddy,Naveen son of the owner,manager, Lokesh,owner of the Building,Jayamma and Anil Reddy,charging them under explosive act and also under section 427 ( mischief) section 285 (Negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter) 304 ( causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide ) 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of IPC and arrested Ramaswamy reddy, Naveen and Anil for further investigations.