Blast at Indian firecracker workshop kills five


Five people were killed in an explosion at an illegal firecracker workshop in India, police said on Wednesday, ahead of the annual Diwali festival when demand hits its peak.

The building housing the workshop was completely destroyed when a fire hit gunpowder stocks used to make the fireworks in northern India's Uttar Pradesh state late Tuesday.

"There was a blast in the store room which caused the fire and the building collapsed due the impact. Six more are injured," local police inspector Ramesh Yadav told AFP.

Four people were rescued and a case has been filed against the factory owner over illegal manufacture of firecrackers, he said.

Such accidents are common ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, which many celebrate by letting off fireworks.

Last week eight workers were killed in an explosion in southern Tamil Nadu state, India's firecracker manufacturing hub.