Five labourers and the owner of a fireworks unit at Mannaragudi were killed after an explosion ripped through the building they were working in on Wednesday.
The owner, Singaravelu, an AIADMK functionary, and the workers identified as Suresh, Arivu, Veeraiyan, Babu and Narayanan, were trapped in the concrete enclosure where the fireworks were stacked, sources said. Two other workers, Shaik Abdullah and Settu, were admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital, Tiruvarur, with grievous injuries.
Fire and rescue service personnel rushed to the unit located at Mannainagar on the outskirts of Mannargudi and retrieved the bodies in an operation that went on for over an hour.
The unit was executing orders for fireworks required for temple festivals and the elections when the explosion took place.
A car belonging to Singaravelu and a few other vehicles were also damaged in the explosion, sources said.
People in the neighbourhood who rushed to the spot after hearing a loud noise said that they found flames emanating from the debris.
Somasundaram, Muthu and Abbas, who escaped unhurt, narrated the sequence of events to the police.
Somasundaram said the explosion occurred moments after he had got out of the building. The cause of the explosion is yet to be determined. Senior police and revenue officials conducted preliminary inquiries.
The Mannargudi police have registered a case. Food Minister R. Kamaraj visited the spot as well.