Three dead in central China fireworks plant explosion

16:06, January 26, 2010      

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Smoke is seen at the Changjin Firecrackers Plant in Taolin Town of Linxiang City, central-south China's Hunan Province, Jan. 26, 2010. Two blasts happened at the plant on Jan. 26, leaving three firemen dead. (Xinhua/Long Hongtao)

Three firefighters died while trying to put out fire after a fireworks plant explosion in central China's Hunan Province early Tuesday, local authorities said.

The blast happened at 7:12 a.m. at Changjin Firecrackers Plant in Taolin Town, of Linxiang City, about two hours' drive from the provincial capital, Changsha, said Yue Xiqiang, head of the Hunan Provincial Fire Brigade, who oversaw the emergency response.

He said the initial accident caused no casualties, but a second blast during the rescue work buried four firefighters, of whom only one survived.

Rescue work ended Tuesday afternoon, after the three dead were retrieved.

Local authorities are investigating the cause of the explosion.

Hunan Province is a leading manufacturing base of fireworks. With the Chinese Lunar New Year only three weeks away, makers have stepped up production.


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