Blast at Chinese chemical plant kills 19

Sichuan province in China

Sichuan province in China

China's official Xinhua News Agency says a blast in an industrial park in a southwestern province has killed 19 people and injured 12 others.

The cause of Thursday's blast at the Yibin Hengda Technology in an industrial park several hours southeast of Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, is not yet known, local officials said on Friday.

Video footage of the accident in Jiang'an district shows a massive fire ripping though the building and sending plumes of thick black smoke into the air.

The explosion left 19 dead and injured another 12, authorities said on July 13, the latest industrial accident in a country where lax regulations often lead to tragedy.

A fire, which broke out early on Thursday evening due to the explosion, was put out by 11:30pm local time, the government said in a statement.

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The Ministry of Emergency Management has sent a team to further investigate the cause of the explosion, the agency added.

The company, which makes chemicals for the food and pharmaceutical industries, did not immediately answer telephone calls from Reuters to seek information.

According to local media reports, the three-storey buildings of the factory burnt down to their steel frames and nearby buildings had their windows shattered.

The note notable example in recent years being the 2015 blast that rocked the city of Tianjin, and resulted in the deaths of 165 people in the area near the port storage facility.

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