Punjab: At least 23 people were killed and around 30 injured after a fire broke out at a firecracker factory located at Batala, Gurdaspur in Punjab on Wednesday (September 4). The incident took place around 4 pm on September 4 at the factory located in a residential area in Gurdaspur's Batala.

The intensity of the blast was such that three to four buildings situated near the factory collapsed. Window panes of buildings that were up to 1 km away were smashed. Apart from buildings, a car and a bike were also destroyed. The firecracker factory where the explosion happened was a three-storeyed building. 

Also read: Gurdaspur Explosion: 19 dead, 15 inured in blast at firecracker factory in Punjab

Meanwhile, locals complained that the firecracker factory was running illegally for many years. It was manufacturing and storing crackers for a religious procession relating to the birth anniversary celebrations of Sikhism's founder Guru Nanak Dev, according to reports.

According to the Punjab Police, several people are still feared trapped under the debris. The rescue operation is underway. The cause of the blast is not yet known. 

Meanwhile, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has expressed shock over the incident.

"Deeply anguished to learn the loss of life due to the blast in the firecracker factory in Batala. Rescue operations are underway with the DC and the SSP heading relief efforts," Amarinder said in his tweet.