Around 22 persons feared dead in blast at a private explosive manufacturing unit at Murugampatti near Uppiliapuram in Tiruchy district.
The incident happened this morning in the sprawling licensed unit which has been running for 15 years. Top police officers and firefighters are on the spot to oversee rescue operations.
The fire was noticed at one of the manufacturing wings of the factory and it soon spread to other areas.
The noise triggered panic among people in the surrounding areas and waves of the blast were felt even two km away from the site, forcing officials to stop traffic on Athur road, police said.
Nitric acid fumes have engulfed the area and emergency services are using foam to control the fumes. The fire has been contained.
“An explosion was heard at Vetrivel Explosives near Tiruchirappalli (333 km from Chennai) in the morning. The ground and first floors have collapsed,” said G. Sathyanarayanan, deputy director-in-charge of Fire and Rescue services (central region), Tamil Nadu.