Chemical Plant Explosion Injures Dozens in Eastern China
A huge explosion rocked China’s Shandong Aocter Chemical Plant in Gaotang County, Shandong Province, on Jan. 14 at around 6:45 a.m. The plant lay in ruins, and nearby residences were also destroyed.
The explosion was so strong that seven out of eight rooms in the Aocter Chemical Plant completely collapsed, and the entire plant was covered with debris and ashes. Vehicles parked near the site were damaged from flying debris. The shock wave also damaged several nearby factories, and caused the collapse of an entire block of residential buildings 30 meters to the north of the factory, leaving more than 40 families homeless.
An employee at the plant told Qilu Evening News that the explosion happened in the choline chloride room, which is the most dangerous area and the highest paid work unit in the plant.
Gaotang County resident Mr. Liu told The Epoch Times that five workers were on duty that day. The workers saw that something had gone wrong and decided to escape, when the explosion happened. One worker was severely injured in the head and arms. He remains in a coma. Another was seriously injured and the rest were slightly injured. State-controlled media China News reported five injuries, citing the propaganda department of the Gaotang County Party Committee.
However, a reporter for local media Jinan Times, who visited the explosion site and the local hospital, said there were a few dozen injuries, and 30-40 injuries in the neighborhood. An employee at a nearby paper plant said six people were taken away by ambulance. An elderly man who lives about 100 feet north of the plant said the explosion caused his wife to suffer from a spinal fracture, and she was taken to the hospital. The Jinan Times reporter saw a treatment log at one of the hospitals showing over 20 injured from a container factory near the chemical plant.
Gaotang County resident Mr. Ge, who lives about a mile and a quarter away from the plant, told The Epoch Times he heard a thundering noise, felt the ground was shaking, and thought it was an earthquake. Later he found out it was the explosion at the nearby chemical plant.
Another resident, Mr. Yang, who lives just over half a mile away from the plant, told Qilu Evening News that all the windows of his house were shattered and the front door collapsed.
This is not the first time an explosion happened at Aocter Chemical Plant. On the day of the explosion, the director of an education consulting firm, who identified himself as “Guicai Dongzi” on his microblog, posted a message saying, “This morning at 6:48 a.m., a huge explosion happened in Shandong Aocter Chemical Plant. The explosion was felt in Gaotang, Xiajin, Renping and Pingyuan regions. There were not enough ambulances in Gaotang. On Chinese New Year’s Eve of 2007, there was an explosion from that same plant. At least 30 people died from the explosion but officials said no one was killed. In fact, the bodies were cremated in another county. This time the explosion is more severe than the one in 2007.”
Local residents said that this tragedy happened again because no corrective measures were taken after the 2007 explosion.
Read the original Chinese article.
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