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After Temple Tragedy In Paravur, Life Will Never Be the Same Again

Many local residents are yet to emerge from the shock of the Puttingal fire incident.

Published
India
3 min read
A view of a collapsed building after a massive fire broke out during a fireworks display at the Puttingal temple complex in Paravur village, north of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Sunday, 10 April 2016. (Photo: AP)

It has been four days since over 111 people were killed in a horrific temple fire tragedy in the coastal town of Paravur, but residents around the shrine are still a very shaken lot.

Locals say life is unlikely to be the same again after the incident. Many are still trying to come to grips with what happened on Sunday when a huge quantity of stacked fireworks exploded suddenly, raining death.

By Wednesday night, 111 people had been confirmed dead. Many more are still being treated in hospitals in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. A few remain in serious condition.

A young woman living near the Puttingal Devi temple where the devastation took place said:

The situation is such that every time my two children hear a noise, they come running to me and start crying. The children are still shaken up by the disaster.
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An injured man being treated at a hospital after the Kollam temple fire left around 350 injured. (Photo: IANS)
An injured man being treated at a hospital after the Kollam temple fire left around 350 injured. (Photo: IANS)

Many People Are Yet to Recover From the Shock

BV Unnithan, a retired government official, said his wife and some relatives went to her sister’s house, around 200 metres from the temple to watch the fireworks show.

They were among the thousands gathered in the temple premises.

Unnithan said he remembered waking up at around 3:45 am, on Sunday, only to find the locked doors of his house wide open.

I did not realise that a tragedy had struck until a relative called me around 5:45 in the morning to find out what had happened at the Puttingal Devi temple.
Unnithan, Local

His wife watched the exploding and dazzling fireworks till around 3 am and then went to sleep.

Minutes after she hit the bed, dust from the roof of her sister’s house fell on her face. “They were jolted as the ground shook,” Unnithan explained. It was only much later that they learnt that a huge quantity of fireworks had exploded in the temple, killing scores instantly. “Many people in the area are yet to recover from the shock,” Unnithan added.

Though some residents had raised concerns over the annual fireworks show, most people in Paravur town used to keenly wait for the event.

The fireworks display usually started the previous night and would go on till the early morning when the temple opened.

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A man carries firecrackers from the site of the Puttingal temple fire tragedy. (Photo: AP)
A man carries firecrackers from the site of the Puttingal temple fire tragedy. (Photo: AP)

Counselling Teams Sent to the Temple Town

The Kerala government has decided to send counselling teams to the temple town. The teams will visit each house where the impact of the disaster was the maximum.

I felt I had gone deaf because of the explosion. The final explosion was unbearable. I am told some people suffered bleeding from their ears on account of the deafening sound. No words can describe what we suffered.
Local resident

Fortunately for the man, he was viewing it all from his terrac, so he escaped death.

Since Monday, local authorities have been supplying drinking water in trucks to houses in and around the temple, as most wells have either collapsed or the water has turned black.

We have been told not to use the water from the well until further notice. But no one has told us when our issues will be addressed.
Local resident

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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