Thu Oct 20, 2016 04:00PM
In this photograph taken on October 14, 2016, an Indian worker dries material to prepare firecrackers ahead of Diwali "The Festival of Lights" in Ahmedabad. (Photo by AFP)
In this photograph taken on October 14, 2016, an Indian worker dries material to prepare firecrackers ahead of Diwali "The Festival of Lights" in Ahmedabad. (Photo by AFP)

A huge explosion at a fireworks factory has left at least eight workers dead in southern India.

The blast was set off by a blaze at the factory in the town of Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu state on Thursday, also leaving some 15 injured.

Some of the wounded “have critical burn injuries,” said local police inspector Vijaya Lakshmi.

Emergency workers evacuated patients from a nearby hospital, fearing the fire could spread.

Sivakasi is home to some 700 small factories that produce fireworks.

In 2012, more than 35 people were killed after one of the factories in the town caught fire, leading to a massive explosion.

All the factories run at peak capacity ahead of the Diwali festival.

Diwali or Deepavali festival of lights is a Hindu religion ceremony celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere. Many celebrate the event by reciting supplications, letting off fireworks, setting up indoor and outdoor decorations.