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Human error blamed for deadly oil tank blast in China's Xinjiang region
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21:54, June 27, 2008

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Human error has been blamed for an oil tank blast that killed five workers in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a local official said on Friday.

Investigators found the workers had violated rules by starting fire on a 2,000 cubic meter tank holding coal tar, triggering an explosion at the Fukang Iron Coke Co. Ltd. in Fukang City on Wednesday afternoon, said Mao Chuntang, a Xinjiang work safety administration official.

Rescuers were continuing to search for two workers missing after the explosion, which also left another person injured, he said.

Local authorities have launched a general overhaul of the safety operation at businesses involving dangerous chemicals, Mao said.

Dozens of fire fighters extinguished the blaze about three hours after the blast. Eight other tanks nearby were not affected.

Coal tar is a viscous black liquid used in roofing, waterproofing and insulating materials,

Established in 2004, the private Fukang company had an annual production capacity of 50,000 tonnes of tar.

Fukang's safety production license had been revoked and its production halted. Its bank accounts were also frozen.

Source: Xinhua

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