• Monday, Jan 17, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

Blast kills 14, injures 147 in China

  • Published at 03:43 pm October 25th, 2016
  • Last updated at 04:46 pm October 25th, 2016
Blast kills 14, injures 147 in China

At least 14 people were killed and nearly 150 wounded when a blast tore apart a neighborhood in a small town in northwestern China on Monday, battering nearby homes, shattering windows and sending residents streaming from the smoking ruins.

The explosion occurred in the afternoon in Xinmin, a town in Fugu County, Shaanxi Province, and by early Tuesday rescuers had counted 147 wounded, 113 of whom had been hospitalized, according to Xinhua, the main state news agency. Eleven of the wounded were in intensive care.

By Tuesday, rescuers had finished searching for anyone buried under wreckage after pulling six people out overnight.

An investigation into the cause of the blast suggested that it was another example of a widespread hazard in China: dangerous substances stored improperly and too close to homes.

“The preliminary assessment is that the accident was caused by explosives that went off,” Xinhua said, citing the police.

The police said that the explosion apparently originated in a steel hut that had been rented out and that they had detained the owner of the hut and were searching for the renters. An earlier report said the hut appeared to have been used by a construction crew. Yang Huanning, the director of the Chinese State Administration of Work Safety, ordered officials to “undertake a specialized inspection of the management, use and storage of explosives and explosive substances” in the area of the blast and other parts of Shaanxi, said the China News Service, a government-run news agency. Photographs from the town showed rescuers clawing through the debris and buildings that had been pummeled by the explosion, including a small hospital whose windows had been blown out. The force of the blast gouged a hole many feet deep in the ground. About 60 homes were badly damaged, and a nearby concrete-slab building partially collapsed. The windows of a kindergarten were shattered.

But Chinese news websites did not dwell on the disaster, and by evening the coverage was moved from prominent parts of sites. On Monday, the Communist Party Central Committee, a council of about 370 senior officials, started a four-day meeting. And at such politically delicate times, the propaganda authorities particularly discourage attention on bad news.

The Chinese government has become increasingly strict about enforcing safety rules, and deaths and injuries from industrial accidents have been falling.

But deadly accidents and rickety enforcement are still widespread. In August 2015, explosions at a chemical storage facility in Tianjin, a northern port city, killed more than 170 people.

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