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Blast rocks east China chemical plant, injuries reported

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Firemen and Chinese paramilitary police officers search at an explosion site in Yancheng in China’s eastern Jiangsu province on March 21, 2019. – A huge explosion rocked a chemical plant in eastern China on March 21, killing at least six people and injuring dozens as it knocked down factory buildings and sent a huge plume of smoke skyward, officials and state media said. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT

A huge explosion rocked a chemical plant in eastern China on Thursday, injuring at least 12 people and shattering the windows of nearby buildings, officials and state media said.

The blast occurred at around 2:50 pm (0650 GMT) at a chemical facility run by Tianjiayi Chemical in Yancheng, Jiangsu province, city officials said on their official Twitter-like Weibo account.

Around the time of the explosion, China’s earthquake administration reported a 2.2-magnitude tremor in Lianyungang, a city near the Yancheng blast.

Injured residents near the site of the explosion have been sent to hospital for treatment, according to local authorities.

Medical staff, as well as personnel from the public security bureau and fire department have been sent to the scene, they added.

The provincial fire brigade said on Weibo they had recovered 12 injured from the scene.

Video footage published by state-run Beijing News on Weibo, showed an enormous explosion, with flames engulfing the top of the chemical plant.

Other shots showed thick grey smoke billowing skyward from the site of the blast.

Footage from state broadcaster CCTV showed windows of nearby houses blown out from the force of the explosion.

History of industrial disasters
Industrial accidents are common in China, where safety regulations are often poorly enforced.

In November, a truck carrying combustible chemicals exploded at the entrance of a chemical factory in a northern Chinese city that will host the 2022 Winter Olympics, killing at least 23 people and injuring 22 others.

A report published by local authorities in February revealed that the Chinese chemical firm responsible for the accident had concealed information and misled investigators.

Last July, a blast at a chemical plant in southwest Sichuan province left 19 dead and 12 injured. The company had undertaken illegal construction that had not passed safety checks, according to local authorities.

In 2015, giant chemical blasts in a container storage facility killed at least 165 people in the northern port city of Tianjin.

The explosions caused more than $1 billion in damage and sparked widespread anger at a perceived lack of transparency over the accident’s causes and its environmental impact.


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