Firework Factory Explosion in Henan Province Results in 36 Deaths

By Shi Shan, Radio Free Asia
January 31, 2006 Updated: January 31, 2006

On January 31, the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year, an explosion occurred at the storage room of a firework factory in Linzhou City, Henan Province, which caused the collapse of a nearby temple and at least 36 deaths.

The explosion on Sunday took place at Lihua Firework Factory, a company that was already shutdown for re-organization at Linzhou's Linqi Town. The explosion caused the Laojun Temple to collapse. According to a local official report, at least 36 died and 48 were injured, of which eight were seriously wounded.

A resident at Linqi told Free Asia Radio, the explosion was very intense. Many windows of nearby residents broke into pieces in the shockwave, and there are many firework factories near the Laojun Temple.

One resident said, “It was a very serious explosion. Two windows in our factory broke in the shockwave. I knew over 20 people died on the scene. This afternoon, I went to visit the hospital. The head of hospital said more than 20 people died on the scene, over 10 died upon arriving at the hospital, in total, about 40 or 50 people died. The bodies were carried by two buses.

“As we speak, some people may still be buried underneath because quite a few firework factories are located there, at least seven or eight. The closest one is only within 20 meters, even the one furthest away is still within 50 or 60 meters.” The reporter called the Linqi Town government. The government official on duty did not want to reveal details.

The government official on duty said, “I don't even know the details!”

An officer from a department in charge of monitoring and managing safe production at Linzhou said, the cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

He also said, “My colleagues who went to the scene are still at the scene and have not come back. I still don't know the details, just that the temple seemed to have collapsed. On the first day of Chinese New Year, many people went to temples to burn incense and kneel down, it was full of people.”

A local resident told the reporter, “The local rumor is that the cause of the accident was because fireworks were set off at the Laojun Temple, which set explosive materials in the nearby storage room of the firework factory on fire.”

A resident told the reporter, “People say it was caused by the fireworks at the Laojun Temple, and that caused the explosion.”

Arranged according to a Radio Free Asia recording.