Explosion at Indian fireworks factory kills at least 15

A large explosion at a fireworks factory in northern India on Wednesday killed at least 16 people and caused the building to catch fire and collapse, officials said.

Police officer Mukhtiar Singh said 15 other people were injured in the blast in Batala, a town in Punjab state about 460 kilometers (285 miles) north of New Delhi.

Singh said rescue work is continuing at the site.

Deepak Bhatia, a state government administrator, said the cause of the explosion was being investigated.

The building caught fire after the blast, he said.

Television images showed a brick-lined building that had completely collapsed from the force of the explosion.

Fireworks manufacturing is a big business in India, with firecrackers often used in festivals and weddings.

Many illegal factories produce firecrackers that are cheaper to buy than legally made fireworks.

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