36 killed in central China factory fire: state media

Thirty-six people were killed and two are missing after a fire at a plant in central China, state media said Tuesday, citing local authorities. The fire took place "at a plant in Anyang City, central China's Henan Province on Monday afternoon", news agency Xinhua reported without sharing further details. State media said rescue services first received reports of a fire at 4:22 pm (0822 GMT) at Kaixinda Trading Co., Ltd. "After receiving the alarm, the municipal fire rescue detachment immediately dispatched forces to the scene," CCTV reported. "Public security, emergency response, municipal administration, and power supply units rushed to the scene at the same time to carry out emergency handling and rescue work," it said, adding the fire had been extinguished by around 11 pm local time. In addition to the dead and missing, two are in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, CCTV added. Authorities said "criminal suspects" had been taken into custody in connection with the fire, but did not provide further details. Industrial accidents are common in China due to weak safety standards and corruption among officials tasked with enforcing them. In June, one person was killed and another injured in an explosion at a chemical plant in Shanghai. The fire at a Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co. plant in the outlying Jinshan district sent thick clouds of smoke over a vast industrial zone as three fires blazed in separate locations, turning the sky black. And last year, a gas blast killed 25 people and reduced several buildings to rubble in the central city of Shiyan. In March 2019, an explosion at a chemical factory in Yancheng, located 260 kilometres (161 miles) from Shanghai, killed 78 people and devastated homes in a several-kilometre radius. Four years prior, a giant explosion in northern Tianjin at a chemical warehouse killed 165 people, one of China's worst-ever industrial accidents.

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