19 dead in explosion at chemical factory in Sichuan, China

Lester Mason
July 13, 2018

An explosion at an industrial park in China's Sichuan province has left 19 people dead and 12 others injured, according to state news agency Xinhua.

The blast occurred at the Yibin Hengda Technology Co., a chemical plant in an industrial park in the city of Yibin in Sichuan province at 6.30 pm yesterday, Xinhua said.

China has sought to improve safety standards in its chemical manufacturing and heavy industries after a spate of industrial accidents over the years.

Photos on Chinese social media showed a huge fire and plumes of smoke rising from the facility.

Authorities have begun an investigation, the news agency said.

Fire crews sent to the scene put out the fire later on Thursday and local firefighters told The Beijing News that the blast had been caused by exploding methanol but did not provide further details.

The injured had been taken to hospital and were in stable condition, county officials said, adding that the resulting fire had been put out. The fire broke out in the early evening while there was still daylight, and it was under control by around 11:30 p.m. according to reports. Footage on its website on Friday afternoon showed the skeleton of the burnt-out buildings.

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

In 2015, a blast in a chemical warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin left 165 people dead and multiple injured.

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

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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