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India Fireworks Factory Fire Kills 9 Workers

Indian state government workers from 'free hearse service' transport a body on their vehicle after a blast at a fireworks factory in Warangal, in the south Indian state of Telangana, July 4, 2018.

A powerful blast tore through a fireworks factory in southern India Wednesday, killing nine laborers who had just reported for work, police said.

The manufacturing unit in the Warangal district of Telangana state burst into flames soon after the workers entered at about 11am (0530 GMT), a local police official said.

"We have counted the bodies of nine people. Four others are injured and are undergoing treatment," police spokesman Mohana Krishna told AFP.

Images showed thick black fumes billowing out of the factory premises with one of its gates shattered by the impact of the explosion.

Firefighters battled to douse the flames and rescue those trapped, but some victims were charred beyond recognition by the time they were reached.

Local media reports said the explosion was likely triggered by an electrical short circuit.

Workplace accidents are common in India, thanks to poor safety standards and lax enforcement of regulations.

In January, 17 workers died in a fire at a plastic manufacturing facility in New Delhi and 13 people lost their lives last November in northern Ludhiana city in a similar accident.