Eight persons were killed and three critically injured when a stockpile of crackers exploded at a firecracker factory in Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh on Friday evening, police said.
The tragedy took place at Rasoolpur in a house where the firecrackers were being manufactured ahead of Diwali. The explosion led to many neighbouring houses developing cracks on the walls.
"At around 4.00 pm, there was an explosion in a licensed firecracker factory in Rasulpur village under Civil Lines police station," Badaun Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ashok Kumar said.
"Seven persons died on the spot, while one person succumbed to his injuries in hospital. Three injured persons have been admitted to the district hospital. Their condition is serious," he said.
The intensity of the blast was so strong that people sitting in an adjacent cycle shop and some passersby were injured in the incident, the SSP said.
"Two passersby were among those killed," he said.
Police and the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) were pressed into service to rescue those believed to be buried under the rubble.
Those injured were shifted to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The police said that investigations are on to find out the details of the accident.
The district administration had pressed excavators and fire brigades into service for rescue work.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took immediate cognizance of the explosion and directed the district magistrate of Badaun to take all necessary steps to provide relief to the injured.
With inputs from agencies