Kollam temple fire :108 dead; Pm Modi reaches site

Over 100 people have been killed and more than 300 injured after a major fire broke out at the Puttingal Devi temple in Kerala’s Kollam district, police said.

The fire broke out at the temple at around 3.30 am today morning during festivities that involved firecrackers. The Air Force has deployed four helicopters to airlift the injured out of the temple site and take them to hospitals to Thiruvananthapuram. Meanwhile, Health Minister VS Shivakumar has directed to make all arrangements at Trivandrum Medical College and Kollam general hospital.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced Rs 2 lakh each as compensation to the family of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those injured. Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has also announced financial assistance for the dead and the injured.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s office confirmed that they had not granted permission to the temple authorities to store or use crackers in the premises. District collector Shaina Mol also had denied permission for using fireworks. But despite the lack of permission, the fireworks were conducted in the run up to the Malayalam new year, Vishu, on April 14.

Chandy said the situation was “unprecedented and alarming”. “Rescue operation at the mishap spot is over…The next main focus of the government is to provide best treatment to the injured,” he said.

Reportedly, the Devaswom Board building in the temple premises have also been completely destroyed.

“The normal practice is to store the high potency crackers in the building and from there it’s taken to the place where their is light. A spark from a live cracker landed in the building that stored these massive crackers,” Kunjumon, a local believer, said.

Fire at temple in Kollam is heart-rending and shocking beyond words. My thoughts are with families of the deceased and prayers with the injured.

Spoke to CM Oommen Chandy about the fire at a temple in Kollam. Arranging for immediate shifting of those critically injured via helicopter.

Have also asked my Cabinet colleague and Health Minister JP Nadda to immediately reach the site of the fire tragedy in Kollam.

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