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Deadly Industrial Accident in China Causes a Seismic Shock

47 dead, hundreds more injured in chemical plant explosion
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 22, 2019 5:50 AM CDT
Updated Mar 22, 2019 6:52 AM CDT
In this Thursday, March 21, 2019, photo, fires burn at the site of a factory explosion in a chemical industrial park in Xiangshui County of Yancheng in eastern China's Jiangsu province.   (Chinatopix via AP)
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(Newser) – A massive explosion at a chemical plant in eastern China with a long record of safety violations has killed at least 47 people and injured hundreds of others, 90 of them seriously. Thursday's blast in an industrial park in the city of Yancheng, north of Shanghai, was one of China's worst industrial accidents in recent years. State-run television showed crushed cars, blown-out windows, and workers leaving the factory with bloodied heads. The blast created a crater and more than 900 firefighters were deployed to extinguish the fire that burned into the night. Windows in buildings as far as 4 miles away were blown out by the force of the blast, which caused a magnitude 2.2 seismic shock, reports the AP.

A resident of the community of Chenjiagang, about 3 miles from the plant, said neighbors were injured by glass from windows smashed by the blast force. "At the time of the explosion, I was almost deafened," said the woman. The cause of the blast is under investigation and people responsible for operations at the plant have been placed "under control," Xinhua said. It wasn't clear whether anyone has been formally arrested. Thursday's disaster occurred at a factory run by the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co. Located among a cluster of chemical factories in Yancheng, it has a dismal safety record: In February 2018, China's State Administration for Work Safety cited 13 types of safety hazards at the company, including mishandling of tanks of toxic benzene, the source of Thursday's explosion.

(Read more China stories.)

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