Twelve held over India fireworks factory blaze

Firefighters work at the scene of a fire at a fireworks factory at Sivakasi town, about 540 km (335 miles) southwest of the southern Indian city of Chennai September 5, 2012
Image caption The fire left scenes of devastation at the factory site

Twelve people have been held in connection with Wednesday's blaze at a fireworks factory in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, police say.

Those detained, who include the factory operator, have been charged with culpable homicide.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the blaze has risen to 38. Forty-six others are being treated for their injuries.

The blaze took place in the town of Sivakasi, the hub of India's firecracker industry.

The town has 700 factories and produces 90% of India's fireworks.

The fire broke out at the Om Shakti factory, one of the biggest in the town and spread through packed warehouses.

Najmul Hoda, superintendent of police for Virudhunagar district where Sivakasi town is located, told the BBC that 38 bodies had been recovered from the site and there were "no more bodies inside".

He said the factory's licence had been suspended on Tuesday for safety rule violations and "no work should have been happening there" on Wednesday.

The owner has absconded, police say.

The fire may have been sparked by untrained workers mixing chemicals wrongly, police said.

Accidental explosions are common at Indian fireworks factories, which provide fireworks for weddings, festivals and other ceremonies.

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