Families Rage Over China Plant Inferno

Building where 119 died had no fire exits
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2013 2:30 AM CDT
A woman grieves for her husband who was killed in a fire at a poultry processing plant in northeast China's Jilin province.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The 119 workers killed in a poultry plant fire in China died because of greed and corruption, furious relatives say. The disaster—believed to be the worst factory fire in Chinese history—has sparked huge protests in northeast China, the South China Morning Post reports. Survivors say five of the six exits in the processing room where most victims died were locked to prevent workers taking unauthorized breaks.

The building had no fire exits, but had somehow passed a fire safety inspection just four days before the blaze. "They knew what was wrong with the slaughterhouse but have done nothing for so long," says a farmer whose niece died in the fire. "We're now seeing hundreds of police mobilized within a day to deal with people like us, but what if they could spend a fraction of that cost on workplace safety?" The plant's owner and managers have been taken into police custody while authorities investigate the blaze, the AP reports. (Read more China stories.)

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