38 dead in the fire of a factory in the center of China, a bad “handling” in question

Thirty-eight people died and two others were injured in a fire at a factory in central China, state media reported on Tuesday (November 22nd), with authorities accusing employees of mishandling.

The fire took place “Monday afternoon at a factory in Anyang City, central Henan Province”said the official New China agency, without giving further details.

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According to state media, emergency services were alerted to a fire at 4:22 p.m. (8:22 GMT) at the Kaixinda Trading site. “After receiving the alert, the municipal fire services immediately dispatched teams to the scene”said state television CCTV.

“Public security, emergency response services, city administration and power supply units rushed to the scene at the same time to carry out rescue and rescue operations”she added, specifying that the fire had been extinguished around 11 p.m.

“Manipulation contrary to the rules”

Footage shared by state media shows thick clouds of black smoke from the blaze, with at least two fire engines on scene battling the flames. Another video shows the charred carcass of the building after the fire was extinguished.

An initial report had reported 36 dead and two missing. Separately, two people were injured and taken to hospital, but their lives are not in danger, CCTV reported. Of the “suspects” were taken into custody in connection with the fire, authorities said.

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“According to the first elements, this accident was triggered by a manipulation contrary to the regulations on the part of an employee of the company. (An operation of) electric welding caused the fire”CCTV said.

According to the Tianyancha database, Kaixinda Trading is a wholesaler of machinery, building materials, non-hazardous chemicals, clothing and firefighting equipment.

Frequent industrial accidents

Industrial accidents are common in China, often caused by poor compliance with safety rules. Also on Monday, an explosion occurred in a chemical plant in northern China, according to official media which did not put forward a human toll but reported material damage in surrounding buildings.

This incident took place in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, according to Dahebao, the official provincial daily which quoted the authorities. According to videos posted on social media, a fire broke out at the industrial site, releasing very dense gray smoke that formed a huge mushroom in the sky.

Other images show housing on the ground strewn with shards of glass, frightened people leaving buildings or window frames falling at the foot of buildings, due to the blast of the explosion. “Staff have been dispatched to the scene, the fire has been extinguished and the human toll is not yet known”said the Dahebao newspaper on the Weibo social network, citing the authorities.

According to residents interviewed by local media, the explosion occurred around 5:25 p.m. local time and people were injured by shards of glass. The factory, named Jiangyang, had already been hit by an explosion in September 2021, according to Dahebao.

In March 2019, the explosion of a chemical factory in Yancheng, a city located 260 kilometers north of Shanghai, caused the death of 78 people and devastated homes for several kilometers around.

But one of the most serious industrial accidents is the one that occurred in 2015 in Tianjin (north). A gigantic explosion in a chemical warehouse had killed at least 165 people in this large port city located 120 kilometers southeast of Beijing.

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