13 die in Tamil Nadu oil mill fire (Lead)

May 7th, 2009 - 7:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, May 7 (IANS) At least 13 people, most of them children, were burnt to death and 10 injured in a major fire in an oil mill in a village in Tamil Nadu’s Namakkal district, an official Thursday said.
The incident took place around 10 p.m. Wednesday in a warehouse attached to the factory that makes edible oil from bran in Valayappatti village of Namakkal, about 300 km southwest of state capital Chennai. The fire was finally doused by 11 fire tenders after a night-long effort.

“Preliminary enquiries have revealed that some of the victims were child labourers,” District Magistrate M. Shekharan told IANS. At least 10 children, belonging to Bihar, Orissa and Sri Lanka, died in the fire.

According to official sources, the factory largely employed migrant labour including Sri Lankan Tamil refugees.

“As of this moment, 13 bodies have been recovered and more may be dead as some workers said that at least 70 people were employed in the oil mill. Many victims hailing from Bihar and Orissa are missing,” collector U. Sahayam told IANS.

At least four of the victims have been identified as Umesh Kumar, Peer Mohammad and Viswanath — all from Bihar — and M. Shekharan, a local.

The condition of four of those injured is serious, a police officer said.

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