Ten people were feared killed and 15 injured in a fire at an explosive-making unit at Murugapatti, about 40 km from here on Thursday, police said.
The reason for the fire was not known immediately, police said, adding, three fire fighting units and 10 ambulances were pressed into service.
The fire was noticed in one of the manufacturing wings of the factory and it soon spread to other areas. The noise triggered panic among people in the surrounding area and waves of the blast were felt even two km away from the site, forcing officials to stop traffic on Athur road, police said.
As the area was receiving heavy rains, rescue operations could not be taken up in full swing, though the fire had been almost contained, police said.
There were 15 mini-units in the factory which was manufacturing explosives for deepening and widening wells in the rocky belts.
The licenced unit was working for more than 25 years, police said.
The smoke emanating from the unit was stinking and very toxic, police said.
There were seven sub-units making the chemicals.
While officials of the factory claimed that 25 to 30 people were working in the unit at the time of the fire, locals said around 50 people were present there.
The entire factory had been cordoned off to enable the rescue operations.