China: Poultry plant fire kills dozens
Explosions and fire tore through parts of a poultry processing plant in northeast China today killing at least 119 people and seriously injuring 54 others, local officials say it is one of the country’s worst factory accidents in recent years.
It was initially reported that the fire appeared to have been sparked by three early-morning explosions in the plant's electrical system. A bright blaze could be seen inside a row of windows in one part of the processing plant.
Residents near the factory, the Baoyuanfeng Poultry Plant, in Jilin Province heard blasts at about 6 a.m. Parts of the plant were engulfed in flames but it was unclear whether the fire broke out before or after the explosions, Chinese television reported. The Jilin Province government said on its microblog news site that 119 people were confirmed dead.
More than 300 workers were at the Baoyuan poultry plant at Dehui in Jilin province when the fire broke out early on Monday and emergency workers searching for survivors were uncertain how many remained trapped inside, Xinhua news agency said.
"The complicated interior structure of the prefabricated house in which the fire broke out and the narrow exits have added difficulties to the rescue work," it said.
Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry, which owns the Mishazi plant, was started in 2009 and has more than 1,200 employees. The company, which raises and slaughters poultry, produces 67,000 tonnes of chicken products every year, the Agriculture Ministry said.
No arrests were immediately reported, and Xinhua said an investigation into the cause had begun.
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