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6,000 evacuated following chemical plant explosion in S China

(Xinhua)

08:09, November 25, 2011

GUANGZHOU, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- An explosion ripped through a warehouse at a chemical plant in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Thursday, forcing the evacuation of about 6,000 residents, the local government said.

The accident happened at about 2:35 p.m. at the No. 6 Warehouse, a storage facility for oxidant, at the Futian Chemical Company in Guangzhou's Panyu district, the district government said in a statement.

Ninety firefighters and 15 fire trucks were dispatched to handle the blast, and the situation was brought under control at about 3:10 p.m., the statement said.

A small amount of hydrogen chloride, a toxic gas, had been detected in the air in neighboring areas, and the evacuated residents have yet to return home, it said.

Firefighters are still at the scene managing the aftermath of the blast, it said.

An investigation into the cause of the accident is underway, according to the statement.

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