Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

At least 23 killed in Sudan factory fire

Government orders investigation into cause of blaze

Flames rise from a tile manufacturing unit after an explosion in an industrial zone, north Khartoum, Sudan, December 3, 2019. EPA/MARWAN ALI
Flames rise from a tile manufacturing unit after an explosion in an industrial zone, north Khartoum, Sudan, December 3, 2019. EPA/MARWAN ALI

At least 23 people were killed and 130 injured in a huge explosion that ripped through a tile factory in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum on Tuesday,

Several of the wounded were in critical condition, the Sudanese government said, suggesting the death toll could rise.

A gas tanker abruptly caught fire and exploded, destroying the factory. The government ordered an investigation into the cause and what it called a lack of basic safety measures at a site full of combustible material.

Social media videos showed a ball of fire launched into the sky, sending workers running for cover, as plumes of dense black smoke billowed above the plant.

Firefighters cleared the area within a few hours, pulling bodies out on stretchers and leaving the factory a charred ruin.

“We felt a huge quake. We rushed to see what was happening and were shocked to find a fire and everyone fleeing,” witness Said Al Hassan told AP.

William, a factory employee, told Reuters: "I don't understand what happened. I heard a blast and ran.

"One man in a jallabiya [kandura] was running behind me. He suffered a serious injury and I was also injured in my leg."

Hussein Omar, a volunteer at the scene, said: "I pulled out 14 bodies that were completely burnt."

Police official Mohammed Hassan said a “technical mistake” occurred while the fuel truck was unloading cargo.

The government expressed its “deepest condolences” to the families of victims and wished a “swift recovery to all wounded".

Sudan has suffered various industrial accidents in recent months, raising concerns about the adequacy of health and safety regulations.

This year, a fire caused partial damage to the presidential palace in Khartoum.

Updated: December 4, 2019 01:36 AM

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