An explosion at a pesticide plant in eastern China has killed 47 people and injured more than 600, state media said on Friday, the latest casualties in a series of industrial accidents that has angered the public.
The blast occurred at the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in the city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, and the fire was finally brought under control at 3.00 a.m. on Friday (1900 GMT), state television said.
Survivors were taken to 16 hospitals with 640 people being treated for injuries. Thirty-two of them were in a critical condition, it said.
The fire at a plant owned by the Tianjiayi Chemical Company spread to neighboring factories. Children at a kindergarten in the vicinity were also injured in the blast, media reported.
The cause of the explosion was under investigation, but the company - which produces more than 30 organic chemical compounds, some of which are highly flammable - has been cited and fined for work safety violations in the past, the China Daily said.
Police, some wearing face masks, sealed off roads to the plant. The power of the blast smashed windows in the village of Wangshang two kilometers (1.2 miles) away, and shocked villagers likened it to an earthquake.
“There have been little accidents before but nothing like this,” one resident, who gave his family name as Wang, told Reuters.
“There was one loud bang followed by a long rumble. All the windows were smashed. I went to have a look. Near the site there was blood everywhere. People were crushed,” he said.