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A blaze in a fireworks factory in central India kills 11 people and injures scores of others

NEW DELHI (AP) — A fire raced through a fireworks factory in central India on Tuesday, killing 11 people and injuring about 150 others as it sparked other explosions, officials said.

Videos on social media showed smoke and flames billowing from the factory as people fled the area in fear.

The cause of the fire in Harda in Madhya Pradesh state was not immediately clear.

Pawan Kumar Sharma, the area’s top administrative officer, told reporters that at least 11 people died in the blaze and rescuers were scouring the debris to check whether anyone was trapped. About 150 people were injured, senior police officer Ishad Wali said.

There is a huge demand in India for firecrackers, which are used in religious festivals and weddings. Fatal accidents occur nearly every year as people work in makeshift factories without proper safety measures.

An explosion at a fireworks factory in southern India last July killed eight people. In 2018, a massive fire at a firecracker factory in New Delhi killed 17 workers. A year earlier, a blast killed 23 people while they were making firecrackers in a village in Madhya Pradesh state in central India.