An explosion Thursday at a pesticide plant at the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in the city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province in eastern China, has killed 47 people and injured more than 600.
Thirty-two of them were critically injured. Children at a kindergarten in the vicinity were also injured in the blast. The impact could be felt as far as 5 kilometers (3 miles) away. Windows were blown out by the force of the blast. A big fire occurred in the area. Dozens of fire trucks and hundreds of firefighters rushed to the scene. Nearly 1,000 area residents have been moved to safety. The Tianjiayi Chemical Company which owns the plant, produces more than 30 organic chemical compounds, some of which are highly flammable.
The pesticide factory failed a government safety inspection last year. President Xi Jinping ordered all-out efforts to care for the injured and to “earnestly maintain social stability.” No abnormal concentrations of toluene, xylene or benzene were found in the area. The government announced it would shut down any chemical firms found not complying with regulations on dangerous chemicals. China experiences frequent industrial accidents. Some similar accidents occurred in the past in the country. In 2015, as example, 165 people were killed in a series of explosions at a chemical warehouse in the northern city of Tianjin.