Twenty dead, more than 150 injured after fireworks factory explodes in northeast ChinaAugust 17th, 2010 - 10:01 pm ICT by BNO News
HARBIN, CHINA (BNO NEWS) — Twenty people were killed and more than 150 others were injured after a massive explosion destroyed a fireworks factory in northeast China on Monday, officials said on Tuesday.
The explosion happened around 9.40 a.m. local time at the Hua Li Industrial Co., Ltd. in the Uma River District of Yichun City, in the country’s Heilongjiang Province. The blast destroyed most, if not all, of the factory.
The State Administration of Work Safety said in a statement that 20 people had been killed in the explosion, while 153 others were injured. Four people remain missing.
The Administration said the company’s production permit was confiscated in June in order for it to improve its work. However, according to an initial investigation, it appeared the company had resumed work illegally.
The casualties included employees of the fireworks factory as well as local residents. The state-run Xinhua news agency reported that 10 of the factory’s 51 workers were killed, while 35 of them were injured. Four remain unaccounted for.
Eight workers were also killed at the neighboring Taiye Wood Factory, while 35 other workers were also injured at the neighboring factory. Near the factories, at least two pedestrians were killed and 83 others were injured.
A large blaze broke out at the scene after the initial explosion, but was largely brought under control after a helicopter dropped water onto it on Monday. By early Tuesday morning, most of the fire had been extinguished although smoke continues to surround the area.
More than 2,000 residents were evacuated after the explosion shattered windows within a one kilometer (mile) radius of the factory, Xinhua reported, which said iron fences 100 meters from the factory were damaged in the blast. The powerful explosion was felt more than 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) away.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.
Although rare, explosions at fireworks factories are often very deadly. On May 13, 2000, 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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Tags: bno, china harbin, early tuesday, fireworks factory, harbin china, heilongjiang province, industrial co ltd, initial explosion, initial investigation, iron fences, kilometer mile, massive explosion, mile radius, northeast china, s 51, state administration, tuesday morning, uma river, work safety, xinhua news agency