Andhra Pradesh: 2 killed as fire breaks out at firecracker stalls in Vijayawada
Two people were killed as a massive fire broke out in a cluster of firecracker shops in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada in the early hours of Sunday. The incident was reported at the 1.5-acre Gymkhana ground in the Gandhi Nagar locality.
According to the fire department officials, the deceased have been identified as Kasi from Vijayawada and Samba from Piduguralla town. They were asleep in the stalls at the time of the blaze. The accident occurred while firecrackers were being unloaded from vans, police said.
While the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, it could have been the outcome of a blast, police said. The raging fire majorly affected nearby stalls. A video from the site of the incident shows the stalls getting engulfed in huge flames; the bursting of crackers can also be heard.
Confirming the two deaths, Vijayawada Police Commissioner Kanthi Rana told news agencies that all the shops were given safety permissions. “Though initially it’s been suspected that the crackers were country-made, the actual reason is being ascertained,” an official statement read.
Three stalls gutted in blaze
Of the 19 shops in the area, three firecracker stalls were gutted. “All precautionary measures such as stationing of fire personnel and presence of hand held fire extinguishers were provided at all the shops. As soon as the fire broke out, the fire personnel swung into action were able to douse the fire,” Rana said. He added that the permission was given to all 19 shops after all necessary precautions were ensured by the municipality and the fire department, including the police.
Additional director of the Vijaywada fire department, Mohan Rao, said, “This morning at 7:30 am, we received a fire call about a fire accident at temporary fire stalls. Unfortunately, a blast took place due to which two persons died. The reason for the accident is yet to be known.”
Case registered against manager/owner of stalls
“There was a distance between the shops. However, two people sleeping inside one of the shops succumbed to burn injuries. We are registering a case and making sure that the manager or owner is held responsible and is taking stern legal action,” Police Commissioner Rana said.
After the incident, Local MLA Malladi Vishnu and city Police Commissioner KR Tata paid a visit to the spot to take stock of the situation. Meanwhile, residents of nearby houses were startled out of their sleep after hearing the explosive sound caused by the incident. They also lodged a protest over allowing the firecracker stalls to be set up on the ground when a fuel station was located right opposite it.
(With inputs from agencies)