3 firefighters die in firecracker plant blast

10:29, January 27, 2010      

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Three firefighters died in the line of duty amid blasts at a firecracker plant in Hunan province yesterday, officials said.

Another firefighter was injured after being trapped in the factory, Xie Jianrong, deputy director of the administration of work safety in Linxiang, said over the phone yesterday afternoon.

At 7:12 am, an explosion hit the Linxiang Changchun firecrackers plant and two fire trucks rushed to the scene after receiving the report.

A second blast hit the site as firefighters were fighting the blaze, killing three of them and injuring another, according to local authorities.

No worker at the factory was harmed in the blasts. Firefighters took about five hours to put out the blaze.

The mishap tore off the plant's roof. Work safety officials are investigating the cause of the explosions.

"We don't know the exact cause yet," Xie said. "The firecrackers went off when they were stored in the factory."

"Sporadic explosions (of firecrackers) could still be heard," he said.

The factory is one of 15 firecracker plants located in Taolin town of Linxiang. The factories hired a total of 3,500 workers as of June 2008, according to a report by the city's people's congress.

The latest blasts came less than a month before Spring Festival, a popular time of the year for the pyrotechnics.

According to the Hunan-based International Fireworks Association, China has 7,500 licensed firework plants, and two-thirds of them are located in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces. About 90 percent of the world's fireworks are produced in China.

Source:China Daily
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