19 people killed in explosion at Chinese chemical plant

Industrial park blast kills at least 19 in China

Industrial park blast kills at least 19 in China

A powerful explosion at a chemical plant in China's Sichuan province has killed at least 19 people, besides leaving 12 others injured, officials confirmed on Friday.

The blast occurred at the Yibin Hengda Technology Co, a chemical plant in an industrial park in the city of Yibin in Sichuan province at 6.30pm on Thursday, Xinhua said.

The injured are in stable condition and an investigation has begun, state news agency Xinhua said.

China has been kicked off measures to improve industrial safety, ramping up checks over the a year ago, following some high-profile incidents at coal mines and chemical plants.

Photos of the accident's aftermath on a local news site showed what appeared to be the burned out shell of a building surrounded by rubble. The fire broke out in the early evening while there was still daylight, and it was under control by around 11:30 p.m. according to reports.

Its breakneck pace of economic growth during the last decade has resulted in a spate of industrial accidents.

A septic tank explosion last November destroyed a wide swathe of a light industrial area in Ningbo, just south of Shanghai.

In 2015, a blast in a chemical warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin left 165 people dead and multiple injured.

It is not clear what caused the explosion. Tianjin's mayor at the time of the accident was sentenced to 12 years in prison for graft.

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