19 Dead after Blast at Chemical Plant in Sichuan

By Jesse Pottinger, July 13, 2018

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An explosion at a Sichuan chemical plant has left 19 dead and another 12 injured, according to local authorities.

South China Morning Post reports that the explosion occurred in an industrial area of Jiangan county at 6.30pm on Thursday, based on a statement released by the Sichuan Industry Safety Supervision Administration. 

CCTV footage reveals thick smoke and massive flames protruding from the property. The factory building was reportedly reduced to a metal frame, with windows shattered in neighboring structures, according to BBC

Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze by 11.30pm, after which they told Beijing News that the cause of the blast was an ethanol explosion. No further information was provided.

The factory was owned by Yibin Hengda Technology, which, according to Southern Metropolis Daily, appears in China’s business registration database as a chemical product manufacturer and distributor. 

Last year, Southern Metropolis Daily reports, Sichuan’s Environmental Protection Department approved an application for the industrial zone that would allow further land to be leased for the building of chemical production facilities. 

All of the injured remain in hospital in stable condition, and authorities continue to investigate the incident.

China is no stranger to industrial explosions: in August 2015 a series of explosions at an industrial area in Tianjin caused widespread damage and resulted in over 150 deaths, while a massive chemical plant explosion injured two people in the city of Tongling, Anhui province, in February 2017.

READ MORE: Truck Collision Causes Fiery Explosion in South China

[Cover image via Weibo h/t BBC]

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