(Eds: Adding chief minister’s statement) Bihar Sharif (Bihar), Mar 23 (PTI) Five people, including three children and a woman, were killed and 18 injured after an explosion in an illegal firecracker unit in Bihar’s Nalanda district, a senior official said today.Also Read - Lalu Yadav Back in Driver's Seat, Takes His First Jeep For a Spin on Streets of Patna | Watch

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed grief over the incident and issued instructions for providing adequate medical assistance to the injured, an official release said. Also Read - Bank Holiday Alert: Banks to Remain Shut Tomorrow For Chhath Puja in These Cities | Complete List Here

The explosion occurred last night at a house in a crowded residential locality here, from where a man allegedly ran the illegal firecracker unit. He used to live in the house as a tenant, said the district magistrate (DM) of Nalanda, Thyagarajan. Also Read - Bihar Gram Panchayat Results 2021: Check Patna, Samastipur, Purnia and Others Results Here | Latest UPDATES

The blast claimed the lives of the tenant’s two daughters — one, a month old, and another aged three — and his four-year-old son. The man’s sister and a neighbour were also killed in the explosion.

Eighteen people, including the accused, suffered injuries, four of whom were in serious condition, the DM said, adding that the seriously injured were taken to the Patna Medical College and Hospital.

A major fire broke out at the house after the explosion, since a huge quantity of inflammable material was stored inside it. The fire could be doused in a few hours, the district magistrate said.

The station house officer (SHO) of Khasganj, Sher Singh Yadav, has been placed under suspension for his failure to check the activity, he said.

An FIR has been registered against the tenant for allegedly running the illegal firecracker-manufacturing unit in a densely-populated locality, he added.

The divisional commissioner of Patna and a deputy inspector general-level police officer would jointly probe the incident. Action would be taken against the guilty on the basis of their enquiry report, the official release said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.