Sivakasi fire: 7 arrested, teams formed to trace unit owner

Seven persons were arrested on Thursday in connection with the massive fire at a cracker manufacturing unit near here that claimed 39 lives even as police are on the lookout for the owner of the factory which allegedly violated several safety norms.

Four persons who had taken the Omshakthi fireworks factory complex where the fire broke out on lease, its foreman and two others entrusted with managing the unit had been arrested, SP Najmal Hoda told reporters here.

Ten teams had been formed to nab the factory owner Murugesan, who fled the spot after the devastating fire on Wednesday.

"It is absolutely illegal.. what he has done (giving the factory on lease), is absolutely wrong," the SP said, adding, cases had been registered against the lease holders and owner under various sections of IPC and Explosives Act.

According to the SP, the factory had committed several violations such as safety norms, overcrowding, overstocking and wrong mixing of chemicals. Initial examination by forensic experts revealed that mixing of chemical had been done in 'unscientific proportions'.

Besides, rubber sheets had not been provided at the sheds where the crackers were manufactured.

The area around the factory, spread over five acres, had been cordoned off as police feared that more unexploded crackers could burst due to extreme heat conditions.

Fire service personnel were constantly dousing the area, so that earth-movers could be used to clear the debris.

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