BEIJING – At least six people have died and another 30 were seriously injured on Thursday in a powerful explosion at an industrial estate where chemicals are manufactured in the eastern Chinese city of Yancheng, local authorities have said, as quoted by state-run news agency Xinhua.
Regional authorities said an explosion took place at around 2:48 pm (0648 GMT) after a fire broke out at a factory that makes pesticides.
Workers became trapped after some buildings collapsed as a result of the ensuing shock wave, which blew out the glass windows in the buildings nearby.
By 5:00 pm local time, 35 people had been rescued, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.
The firefighting department deployed 176 trucks and 928 firefighters to tackle the blaze and assist in the rescue efforts, according to state-owned daily China Daily.
Witnesses cited by Xinhua said they had seen lots of workers coming out of the factory covered in blood.
Military personnel and firefighters were seen assisting the injured, some with blood on their faces and others being carried out on stretchers.
The explosion caused a plume of smoke as well as damage to vehicles parked in the vicinity, photographs circulating on local media outlets showed.
According to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, the company that owns the plant where the fire broke out had been sanctioned six times for violating rules on waste management, environmental impact and air pollution.
SCMP reported that the explosion had been so powerful that a 2.2-magnitude earthquake had been registered by the Chinese Earthquake Administration.
The paper also said the explosion caused damage to schools in the area.
On Nov. 28, at least 22 people died and another 22 were injured in an explosion near a chemical plant in the northeastern city of Zhangjiakou, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of the capital, Beijing.
And in Aug. 2015, a series of explosions at a chemical storage facility rocked the northeastern port city of Tianjin, leading to the deaths of at least 170 people.