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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

Nineteen killed in China chemical plant explosion

Twelve others injured, but stable, after blast in Chengdu

Firefighters tackle a blaze after the explosion at a chemical plant in Yibin in China's southwestern Sichuan province. AFP
Firefighters tackle a blaze after the explosion at a chemical plant in Yibin in China's southwestern Sichuan province. AFP

An explosion at a chemical plant in China has killed 19 people, the latest deadly industrial incident in the world's largest producer of chemicals.

Authorities said 12 others were injured in the blast last on Thursday at Yibin Hengda Technology in an industrial park several hours southeast of Chengdu.

The cause of the blast - which comes amid a drive to strengthen industrial safety in the country after a spate of high-profile incidents at coal mines and chemical plants - is under investigation state news agency Xinhua said.

The company which makes chemicals for the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Photographs on Chinese social media showed a huge fire and plumes of smoke rising from the facility. The fire, which broke out early on Thursday evening, was put out by 11.30pm, the government said in its statement.

A trio of three-storey buildings were reduced to their steel frames by the explosion, the Sichuan Daily newspaper said.

Windows of nearby buildings were shattered by the explosion at the factory, which is surrounded by a sand and gravel plant.

The plant has three production lines, making 300 tonnes a year of benzoic acid, which is used in food preservatives, and 2,000 tonnes a year of 5-nitroisophthalic acid, for medicines and dyes, the regional environmental protection bureau said.

In 2015, an explosion in a chemical warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin killed 165 people. Last year a blast at a petrochemical plant in eastern Shandong province killed eight people and injured nine.