Over 100 dead as fire sweeps through Hindu temple in India
More than 100 people were killed and nearly 400 injured when a massive fire swept through a Hindu temple in southern India during an unauthorised fireworks display early yesterday morning, officials said.
The fire started when a spark from the fireworks show ignited a separate batch of fireworks that were being stored at the Puttingal temple complex in the Kerala state village of Paravoor, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, the state's top elected official.
Thousands of people had been packed into the complex when a big explosion erupted at around 3 a.m., officials said. The blaze then spread quickly through the temple, trapping devotees within.
Chandy said that 102 people died and at least 380 were injured in the disaster.
Most of the deaths occurred when the building where the fireworks were stored collapsed, he told reporters at the temple complex. He said around 60 bodies of the victims had been identified so far.
Krishna Das, a resident of Paravoor, located about 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Kerala's state capital of Thiruvananthapuram, said he had started walking away from the temple as the fireworks display was about to end when he heard a deafening explosion followed by a series of blasts.
He said he saw scores of people running away, chased by fire and chunks of concrete and plaster from the temple building. As soon as the first explosion was heard, a power outage hit the complex.