At least 22 people have been killed and 15 left injured after a firecracker factory went up in flames in India, reports say.
Others are thought have been trapped inside the collapsed three-storey building as firecrackers can be seen exploding in the Batala region, of Gurdaspur.
A rescue operation by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) is underway to evacuate others after the blaze started at around 4pm, today.
The force of the blast has completely destroyed the factory and damaged nearby buildings according to the Hindustan Times.
More than 12 people were referred to Guru Nanak hospital in Amritsar.
President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, tweeted: “Saddened to learn about the loss of lives due to an explosion at a firecracker factory in Batala, Punjab.
“Condolences to bereaved families impacted by this tragedy and wishing an early recovery to those injured.”
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh also expressed his anguish at the tragedy.
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He tweeted: “Deeply anguished to learn of the loss of lives due to the blast in the firecracker factory in Batala.
“Rescue operations are underway with the DC & SSP heading the relief efforts.”
Just last month, 13 people were killed and 72 injured after a blast cause a massive fire at a chemical factory in the Maharashtra’s Dhule district.
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