19 Killed, 12 Injured In Chemical Plant Blast In China

| July 13 , 2018 , 16:18 IST

At least 19 people have been killed and another 12 injured due to a major explosion at a chemical plant in southwestern China on Thursday evening, authorities said on Friday. The injured are said to be in stable condition and an investigation has been launched into the incident.

The explosion took place amidst a drive to strengthen industrial safety in China, which is the world's largest producer of chemicals. The blast at the Yibin Hengda Technology plant at an industrial near the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, has not yet been identified.

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According to an eyewitness quoted by Beijing News, there were several explosions heard in the span on 10 minutes and it took a couple dozen firefighter trucks to put out the fire. Windows of nearby buildings, of a sand and gravel plant, were shattered by the explosions.

Due to the fire, a trio of 3-storey buildings were reduced to their steel frame, including the Yibin Hengda Technology, which makes chemicals for food and pharmaceutical industries.

The plant were the blasts took place has 3 production lines making 300 tonnes per year (tpy) of benzoic acid and 2,000 tpy of 5-nitroisophthalic acid. While benzoic acid is used in food preservatives, 5-nitroisophthalic acid is used for medicines and dyes.

In the past decade, China's breakneck pace of economic growth has resulted in a spate of industrial accidents. The deadliest chemical warehouse explosion took place in the northern port city of Tianjin, killing 165 people.