NEW DELHI: At least 50 people were killed and over 150 others injured after fireworks stored at a building caught fire and exploded in central Indian state Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district Saturday morning, the police said.
The blast took place at the house of a man named Rajendra Kumar Kaswa who had stored fireworks along with gas cylinders. The ground floor was rented as a tea stall or small restaurant for laborers and students.
The toll could rise as many others are trapped in the debris, as at the time of the blast many people were having breakfast or tea at the two-story building, which was reduced to rubbles now.
Officials said investigation is still going on to ascertain the exact reason behind the explosion, while state home minister Babulal Gaur said a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced compensation of about 2,500 U.S. dollars for each of the dead, a common practice in India after deadly incidents take place.
A team of National Disaster Response Force has been dispatched to Jhabua to help in the rescue and search operations of the collapsed building.
Most of the victims are poor laborers like rickshaw pullers and students. Some were seen bleeding and dying on the ground after the powerful explosion, according to local TV footages.
Police said earlier that the blast was caused by gas cylinder and ruled out existence of explosives in the building.
Indian police rarely check building safety situation in residential areas of cities and towns.
Building collapses also take place frequently in Indian cities, killing hundreds each year.
Madhya Pradesh is one of the poorest states of India.