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Industrial park blast kills at least 19 in China

13 July 2018

Video footage of the accident in Jiang'an district shows a massive fire ripping though the building and sending plumes of thick black smoke into the air.

An explosion at an industrial park in China's Sichuan province has left 19 people dead and 12 others injured, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Rescue workers try to put out a fire after an explosion at a chemical plant inside an industrial park in Yibin, Sichuan province, China July 12, 2018.

The explosion happened at 6.30pm on Thursday in an industrial zone in Jiangan county, according to a statement issued by the Sichuan Industry Safety Supervision Administration.

Efforts have been made to improve work safety standards, but deadly industrial accidents remain common in China, where enforcement of safety regulations can sometimes be lax.

Fire crews sent to the scene put out the fire later on Thursday and local firefighters told The Beijing News that the blast had been caused by exploding methanol but did not provide further details.

The company makes chemicals for the food and pharmaceutical industries.

The plant has three production lines, making 300 tons per year (tpy) of benzoic acid, which is used in food preservatives, and 2,000 tpy of 5-nitroisophthalic acid, for medicines and dyes, the regional environmental protection bureau says.

The note notable example in recent years being the 2015 blast that rocked the city of Tianjin, and resulted in the deaths of 165 people in the area near the port storage facility. Those injured in the blast were in a stable condition.