Fire, Explosions Kill 100 At India Temple

At least 100 people have been killed, and more than 380 others injured, following a fire and explosions, during a fireworks display, at a temple in southern India.

A fire and explosions during a fireworks display to mark the start of the local Hindu new year killed 100 people and injured more than 380 at a temple in India’s southern Kerala state on Sunday.

Thousands of devotees had packed into the Puttingal Devi temple, about 70 km from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram in the coastal district of Kollam, to watch the display that started at midnight and went on for four hours.

The blaze started when a cracker fell onto a shed where the fireworks were stored, sparking a string of powerful explosions that blew the roof of the administrative block of the temple and caused another building to collapse, residents said.

“There were body parts on the floor and on the roof there was an arm,” Anita Prakash, a resident said. “In the past, there’s been fireworks but not on this scale.”

Kerala is studded with temples managed by rich and powerful trusts that often flout local regulations. Each year temples hold fireworks displays, often competing to stage the most spectacular ones, with judges who decide the winners.

Kollam district magistrate A. Shainamol said people living in the area near the temple had complained about the danger of these fireworks in the past.

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