The death toll in the fire caused by a pyrotechnics display that exploded during a festival at an Indian temple early Sunday, April 10, has risen to 98, according to a report on CNN, quoting an official in the southern city of Kollam.
More than 260 people were injured, the report quoted A. Shainamol as saying.
The fire started at 3:15 a.m. local time at the Puttingal temple in Kerala state.
Sparks from the display caused a magazine of fireworks to erupt, causing a bigger blaze, said K. Laljy, a local police official.
The temple did not have permission for the fireworks celebration, according to M.S. Santosh, another police official.
Laljy said the fire was out and emergency personnel were at the scene.
The worshipers were celebrating a local temple festival, according to P. Prakash, the Kollam police commissioner.
It’s not uncommon for people to pray at temples early in the morning in southern India.
Rescue operations are underway, though it’s unclear whether anyone is still inside the temple, the report said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he planned to visit the site of the fire.
“I will be reaching Kerala soon to take stock of the situation arising due to the unfortunate fire tragedy,” he tweeted.
His office said those injured in the temple fire would receive 50,000 rupees ( $751) in compensation.
India has seen a handful of lethal fire breakouts in recent years.
Another blaze in February shut down a performance in Mumbai. No casualties were reported.
Thumbnail image from freeimages.com/ Emma Johansson