Fireworks blast kills at least 12 in central China

December 20th, 2010 - 4:54 am ICT by BNO News  

CHANGSHA, CHINA (BNO NEWS) — The death toll from a powerful fireworks explosion in central China on Friday has risen to twelve, state-run media reported on Sunday.

The blast happened on Friday at around 9.30 p.m. local time in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province. It happened when a truck carrying fireworks fuses hit a power pole, causing sparks from fallen cables to ignite the fuses.

The state-run Xinhua news agency said the large explosion destroyed the truck and several houses nearby, sending huge plumes of smoke into the air. Rubble was scattered throughout the area.

Initially, rescue workers placed the death toll at eight and later that day raised it to nine after another body was found. But on Sunday, after DNA test were carried out, it became clear there were three more bodies among the recovered remains.

Two people, including the truck driver, remain missing, however, and are feared to have been killed as well. Rescue work and clean-up operations ended at the scene on Sunday, and have not led to the discovery of more remains.

Nine people who were injured in the blast are being treated at a local hospital, and are reported to be in a stable condition.

Major accidents involving fireworks are rare, but occur more frequently towards the end of the year when demand is high. Many of these accidents happen in China as it is the world’s largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks.

On December 12, eight people were killed and several others were injured when a room stored with fireworks exploded in a busy street in eastern China. And before that, in late August, six people were killed and nearly a dozen others were injured when a blast rocked a fireworks factory in southwest China.

Other notable fireworks-related accidents happened on May 13, 2000 when twenty-three people were killed and nearly 950 others were injured when a massive fireworks explosion devastated a neighborhood in the Dutch city of Enschede.

And on February 1, 2008, twenty-two people were killed and more than 100 others were injured when an unlicensed fireworks factory exploded in the Turkish capital of Istanbul.

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