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Sunday, March 11, 2001, updated at 12:33(GMT+8)

Facts for Explosion in School: Reporter's Coverage Notes

Two Reporters with the Jiangxi Branch of Xinhua News Agency, Yu Xiaozhong and Wan Yi, hurried to the Fanglin Village Primary School in Wanzai County Tuesday where an explosion took place and caused a school building to collapse, killing 42 people and injuring 27.

The following are their on the spot interview records:

On their arrival, policemen and firemen were cleaning up the ruins. Relatives of some of the deceased told reporters that they arrived there after hearing the explosion at about 11 a.m. However, they had no idea what caused the blast.

After repetitive examination, experts from the Ministry of Public Security, local criminologists and fireworks experts recognized that the explosion took place in the third grade classroom on the first floor of the school building.

Luo Lingen, 11, a third grade student, was found by reporters talking to her parents in an emergency room. She told reporters that, "We were having Chinese class before the explosion."

She was reading when she heard a teacher shouting to students " Hurry, go away!," she said. But because she was at the fourth row by the wall, she had hardly got on her feet when the explosion occurred.

Zhang Shugen, 12, was the last rescued from the ruins. He was interviewed immediately after coming around. In broken words, he said he was having class when he heard the teacher shout to order them to run out of classroom. No sooner he groveled to the floor than it exploded.

The teacher, Deng Chengbao, was the one giving Chinese lessons at the time. Half his body was buried in the ruins after the explosion.

He told policemen by his bedside Wednesday morning that it was some 20 minutes after the third class began when a male, in his 30s, appeared at the door with two woven bags with something in them.

Deng asked the man to leave, but he refused. The man broke into the classroom at the time Deng turned back and put the bags beside the third row of desks. Noticing the man setting a fire, Deng felt it was not right, and while shouting to the class, pulled one up beside him and rushed to the door.

Upon learning the detail, a group of experts were sent to the spot.

Close examination of the dead bodies show that most had light burns, mainly on their faces, hair and exposed hands. Those closer to the center of the explosion had larger burns and were killed due to severe concussions to their inner organs and brain, while deaths further away from the initial explosion were due to the collapse of the school building as a result of the explosion.

The most severely damaged was a male body, in which 90 percent of its' skin had second degree burns.

The body was found with his left forearm held out and with no gunpowder attached to the skin on its' neck.

Explosion experts believed that the dead was just the man who carried bags to the classroom.

The man was at the center of the explosion at the time of the explosion, lowering his head and holding out both hands, the left holding a glass bottle filled with gunpowder and the right igniting the fuse.

Later the dead male was recognized by the villagers as Li Chuicai, the reporter's note said.

Wanzai County is reputed as the hometown for fireworks which are exported to over 40 countries and regions. The majority of the farmers here have the ability to make fireworks, and so did Li, who started making fireworks starting at the age of 18.

Police found tools for making fireworks at Li's home at the night of the explosion, and the raw materials like chlorate and sulfur discovered at his home were exactly the same as the chemicals found in the place where his body was, the reporter's note said.

Li was born in 1968 of a poor family. Failure in his marriage and getting along with his ex-girl friends mad him increasingly querulous and strange in personality. He was called a "psycho" by villagers.

Li Hui, son of an elder brother of Li Chuicai, the explosion initiator, is a fifth grade student who was also hurt in the explosion. Li Hui's mother told reporters that Li Chuicai has five brothers, that Li was tacit most of the time, but would start a fight when something went wrong with his mind, and that he was not getting along well with his brothers and other relatives.

Li Chuicai's niece also confirmed that she saw her "psycho uncle" drop by the school Tuesday morning.

Police found a notebook and a sheet of paper at Li's home. On some paper it wrote something reading "I will sacrifice myself... blast all burn least to kill scores of them...all is over, " which shows clearly that the suspect had the intention to set off an explosion in a crowded place.

Police also found direct evidence about Li's family history of mental disease. Li Chuicai had mentioned twice in his writing: "My father is mentally sick and living a hard life." and so was it told by Li's fellow villagers.

In This Section

Two Reporters with the Jiangxi Branch of Xinhua News Agency, Yu Xiaozhong and Wan Yi, hurried to the Fanglin Village Primary School in Wanzai County Tuesday where an explosion took place and caused a school building to collapse, killing 42 people and injuring 27.

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