BEIJING – At least 22 people died and another 22 were wounded early Wednesday in an explosion near a chemical plant in the Chinese city of Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, local authorities reported.
Zhangjiakou authorities said on Weibo (Chinese Twitter) that the explosion occurred at 12:41 am local time Wednesday (1641 GMT Tuesday) and that the injured have been taken to the hospital.
The blast occurred when a transport truck carrying toxic materials exploded while waiting to enter the Hebei Shenghua Chemical Industry Factory premises in Zhangjiakou, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) northwest of Beijing, the official People’s Daily reported, quoting a local official.
Thirty-eight trucks and 12 other vehicles caught fire from the explosion.
The public China Global Television Network reported on Twitter that the fire is already under control.
Images published on Twitter by the Daily show charred vehicles, as well as a thick cloud of black smoke in a fenced enclosure.
The vice-minister of Emergency Management, Fu Jianhua, is currently at the site of the accident, the ministry said on Weibo.
Zhangjiakou is one of the three venues, together with Beijing and Yanqing, of the Olympic Winter Games that China will host in 2022.