According to Xinhua News Agency, at least nine people were killed in an explosion at a chemical plant in Lamadian Town of Daqing City of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province Wednesday night.
Chemical plant blast kills at least 9 in NE China.[Xinhua]
The explosion and fire occurred at about 10:10 p.m. Wednesday at a three-storey building at Fuxing Chemical Plant located in Lamadian Town of Ranghulu District in Daqing.
"Fourteen people were inside the building when the accident happened," local government said, "Nine people died on the scene while the other five people fled the building."
The fire has been extinguished by firefighters by press time, but the air near the plant was full of the burnt smell, according to Xinhua's on-the-spot reporter.
Local environmental protection authority said air surrounding the plant had not gone beyond the criteria for industrial waste gas emissions and would not affect residents and the environment nearby.
According to a preliminary investigation, the fire was caused by the volatilization of a great amount of methanol gas to a level that might lead to the blast.
Sources of danger had been eliminated, and the plant had been shut down.
Xie Jiating, deputy head of Daqing's work safety administration, said that some raw materials remained at the scene, including 3 tonnes of methanol and three bottles of chlorine gas, but they were well packaged and would unlikely cause a secondary accident.
Cui Dehai, the plant's operator, had been controlled by the local police.
The Fuxin Chemical Plant was found to be unlicensed, covering 11,000 square meters and employing 34 workers.