East Godavari: The death toll in the explosion at a firecracker unit at G Medapadu village under Samalkot Mandal in East Godavari district rose to four on Thursday with two more persons succumbing to burn injuries.The massive explosion at the firecracker unit had left 12 persons injured, including the eight who were critically injured on Monday morning. The critically injured had been shifted to a private hospital in Kakinada.

Of the eight critically injured persons in the explosion, four persons Bantu Chelayamma (58) and Makireddi Nookalamma (70) died during treatment on Wednesday while two more Lova Kumari (35) and Anitha (30) died during treatment on Thursday morning.

The remaining four critically injured in the explosion are being treated at the hospital and their condition is still said to be critical, said East Godavari Superintendent of Police Adnan Nayeem Asmi.

District Collector Muralidhar Reddy said that a medical board comprising of specialists from different departments, including surgery and plastic surgery, has been formed to ensure proper treatment for the four highly critically injured women.

In the aftermath of the explosion, Muralidhar Reddy directed the police and fire service departments to carry out surprise raids and shut down all illegal firecracker units and to also examine the safety measures at the licensed firecracker units in the district.

“The explosion took place at a licensed firecracker unit (Indira Fireworks). Our investigation has revealed that the owner of the Indira Fireworks violated some norms by setting up the unit in another place instead of the identified location. We will register cases against the owner of the fireworks once our investigation is completed”, said Ch Ratna Babu, District Fire Officer.

The officials of fire service and the police department said a total of 64 licensed firecracker units has been operating in the district. However, a good number of illegal units are also operating near the licensed firecracker units.

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