10 people have been confirmed dead, and 19 were reported as seriously injured. Five more people remain unaccounted for. The explosion did not involve tanks of dangerous materials. “The sound was extremely loud, with a ball of fire and clouds of smoke in the air,” a resident in the area said. “Many windows and doors within a three-kilometer radius were shattered, and some interior doors were also blown out by the blast,” state broadcaster CCTV said. Investigation is underway. The Ministry of Emergency Management has sent a work team and the National Health Commission has dispatched medical experts to the site.
Deadly industrial accidents are common in China, where safety regulations are often poorly enforced. Despite the accident, the factory was this month named the first provincial-level enterprise to put in place a double prevention system for safety production risks in Henan, by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. It covers an area of 87 hectares, with more than 1,200 employees. In 2015, China suffered one of its worst industrial accidents when giant chemical blasts in the northern port city of Tianjin killed at least 165 people.