JUL 13, 2018: At least 19 people are dead and dozens injured after an explosion at a chemical plant in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, officials said.
The explosion — the latest deadly industrial incident in the world’s largest producer of chemicals, occurred at a Hengda-owned plan in an industrial park 6:30 pm on Thursday evening, local time, according to Xinhua.
Local government officials said none of the people who were injured are in critical condition, The South China Morning Post reported.
A fire caused by the explosion raged for several hours until it was eventually contained early Friday morning.
In a statement quoted by Reuters, the authorities in Jiang’an county said the blast happened at a chemical plant run by Yibin Hengda Technology — Hengda had been established three years ago as a chemical product manufacturer and distributor for the food and pharmaceutical industries.
The cause of the blast – which comes amid a drive to strengthen industrial safety in the country after a spate of high-profile incidents at coal mines and chemical plants – is under investigation state news agency Xinhua said.
In 2015, an explosion in a chemical warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin killed 173 people. An official investigation into the blast found that corruption, political connections and official collusion allowed corners to be cut and safety systems to be overridden, reported BBC.
Last year a blast at a petrochemical plant in eastern Shandong province killed eight people and injured nine.