An explosion near a large chemical plant in northern China claimed 22 lives and leaves at least as many injured. According to the news agency "The Paper", the detonation occurred next to a loading ramp operated by the plant. 38 trucks and twelve cars exploded.
Zhangjiakou/China — First reports of the explosion, which occurred around midnight local time near the complex operated by Hebei Shengua Chemical, gave no reasons for the accident. However, "The Paper" reports that one of the trucks queuing in front of the plant had exploded, triggering a chain reaction that affected other trucks.
The Shanghai news platform quoted a city security officer who wanted to remain anonymous. The state news agency Xinhua reported that all fires were extinguished.
Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities declared that the investigation was still ongoing and did not indicate whether the plant was affected by the explosion and fire. State media showed pictures of burned-out trucks and cars as well as firefighters in action.
The explosion in the city about 156 km from Beijing is the last in a series of industrial accidents, often due to non-compliance with safety regulations.
In August 2015, 165 people died after an explosion at the chemical warehouse in the port city of Tianjin. A government report revealed that the disaster was caused by hazardous substances that were stored improperly or illegally.