Fire at Steel Mill in China’s Hebei Province Kills Seven

October 24, 2019 Updated: October 24, 2019

BEIJING—A fire at a steel producer in northern China’s Hebei Province has killed at least seven people, provincial authorities said on Oct. 24.

The accident happened at a sintering plant called Heibei Xinghua Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. in Handan, China’s second-biggest steel producing city, at 3:30 a.m. local time, the Department of Emergency Management of Hebei Province said in a brief statement on its website.

A person who answered the phone at the company declined to comment. It is not clear if the company has halted production at the plant.

Hebei Xinghua has annual steelmaking capacity of 2 million tonnes, according to its website.

China has a history of workplace accidents that often trigger inspection campaigns aimed at rooting out violations and punishing officials for cutting corners or shirking their supervisory duties.

A blast at a pesticide factory in Jiangsu Province in March killed 78 people, with 28 missing. However, many netizens have questioned the accuracy of those numbers. The blast caused a 2.2 magnitude earthquake, heavily damaged neighboring buildings, and sparked concerns about water and air contamination in the area. The incident triggered public outrage over safety standards at industrial facilities.

By Min Zhang and Dominique Patton. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.