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China engineering factory blast kills 17, injures 33

05 January 2015

An engineering factory blast killed 17 people and injured 33 others in south China's Guangdong province on December 31. The blast occurred at Fuwa Engineering Machinery Manufacturing Co. in the Shunde district of the industrial city of Foshan, the district government said in a statement.

Stock image
Stock image

Among the injured, 16 sustained serious injuries and three remain in a life-threatening condition, it said. Xinhua said the blast left a large hole in the factory roof and the ground was splattered with blood. The blasts also damaged a nearby glass factory and other adjacent plants.

The statement said the blast occurred when the factory was closed for cleaning, and that the cause of the incident is under investigation. Initial reports say the blasts was caused by gas explosions.

Fuwa, founded in 1997, is a global trailer axle and chassis component manufacturer. According to Xinhua it was expected to invest 2.26 billion yuan (US$370 million) to build new headquarters in Foshan.

The news agency said the plant’s modern external appearance belied the basic nature of facilities inside the plant, where there were numerous containers of combustible materials but few fire extinguishers. Several workers told Xinhua they rarely received fire training.

The blast came just two days after China's cabinet, the State Council, vowed to punish 35 officials, including a mayor and a deputy provincial governor, in connection with a factory blast in the eastern province of Jiangsu in August.

The dust explosion at Zhongrong Metal Products Co. Ltd. in the city of Kunshan killed 75 people immediately. The death toll climbed to 146 when other workers died in the hospital. The factory supplied parts to General Motors.

The accident was China’s worst industrial disaster in nine years. A 2005 mine accident in northeastern China killed 171 people.

The State Administration of Work Safety said recently that the country's work safety record was still poor despite improvements in recent years. Around 57,000 people were killed in 269,000 accidents in the first 11 months of 2014, according to state officials quoted by Xinhua.

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