A powerful explosion Friday at a fireworks factory in northern India killed at least eight people and injured three others, as Hindus prepare to celebrate the highly popular Diwali festival early next month.
Police officer Ashok Kumar said the blast badly damaged the factory and some adjacent shops in Budaun district in Uttar Pradesh state.
The blast killed six workers and two people who were passing by. Three people were hospitalized with serious injuries, Kumar said.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the blast.
The area is about 280 kilometers (175 miles) southwest of Lucknow, the state capital.
India has a huge demand for firecrackers, which are used in religious festivals and weddings.
Accidental explosions are common at fireworks factories, which often ignore safety standards.
In June last year, an explosion at a fireworks factory killed 23 workers and injured seven others in Madhya Pradesh state in central India.