Blast hits chemical plant in eastern China

USA Today – by Deirdre Shesgreen

Chinese officials reported a blast at a chemical plant in eastern China on Saturday, triggering a fire and leaving one person dead and at least nine injured.

The explosion occurred at a chemical facility in Shandong province, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

Big plumes of smoke and a raging fire could be seen in photographs posted by the government, which said that 150 firefighters were battling the blaze. Firefighters put out the resulting fire just before 2 a.m. on Sunday and the case was under investigation, Xinhua said.  

The facility owned by Shandong Runxing Chemical Technology Co. produced adiponitrile, which can give off toxic fumes when burned, according to Xinhua. Adiponitrile is used in making nylon and other products.Environmental authorities detected no contamination from the blast, the news agency reported.

The incident comes on the heels of a deadly Aug. 12 explosion at a chemical warehouse in China’s Tianjin port, which killed at least 121 people and left scores exposed dangerous chemicals.

That explosion ranks as one of China’s worst industrial accidents in recent years. Chinese workers in protective suits have been clearing wreckage at the Tianjin site, including charred car bodies and crumpled shipping containers.

The death toll from the Aug. 12 incident includes 67 firefighters and seven policemen, authorities said at a press conference on Saturday, Xinhua reported. Authorities said on Saturday that 640 people remain hospitalized, including 48 who are critically injured.

Another 30,000 people in and around the area have had their lives turned upside down by the disaster.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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