A huge explosion at an illegal fireworks factory in western India on Thursday killed 27 people, including 12 children, police said.

The blast, which occurred before dawn, blew apart the workshop set up in a home in a slum in the town of Deeg, said area police chief Rohit Mahajan. Another 17 people were injured in the explosion.

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Mahajan said the force of the blast also brought down two neighboring homes, where the 12 children were killed.

Deeg is some 120 miles northwest of Jaipur, the capital of India's Rajasthan state.

Thousands of illicit firework factories spring up every year in India ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, when revelers fire them off in celebration. Diwali begins this year on Oct. 28.