19 dead in explosion at chemical factory in Sichuan, China

Industrial park blast kills at least 19 in China

Industrial park blast kills at least 19 in China

An explosion at a chemical plant in southwest China left 19 dead and injured another 12, authorities said Friday, the latest industrial accident in a country where lax regulations often lead to tragedy.

The blast occurred at 6:30pm Thursday at an industrial park in Sichuan province's Yibin city, according to a statement on the website of the local work safety administration.

It comes amid a drive to strengthen industrial safety, with China ramping up checks over the a year ago, in the wake of some high-profile incidents at coal mines and chemical plants.

Video footage of the accident in Jiang'an district shows a massive fire ripping though the building and sending plumes of thick black smoke into the air. The company makes chemicals for the food and pharmaceutical industries.

A trio of three-storey buildings were reduced to their steel frames by the explosion, the Sichuan Daily newspaper said, citing witness accounts.

Windows of nearby buildings were shattered by the explosion at the factory, which is surrounded by a sand and gravel plant, it added.

The note notable example in recent years being the 2015 blast that rocked the city of Tianjin, and resulted in the deaths of 165 people in the area near the port storage facility.

Last year, an explosion at a petrochemical plant in eastern Shandong province killed eight people and injured nine.

This photo taken on July 12, 2018 shows firefighters working to put out a fire after an explosion at a chemical plant in Yibin in China's southwestern Sichuan province.

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