(RoyalPatriot.com )- Five people have died, and eight more are still missing after an explosion at a petrochemical plant in northeastern China.
According to local authorities reported by China’s state broadcaster CCTV, the refinery in Panjin, Liaoning province, caught fire and burst into flames at about 1:30 p.m. local time on January 15.
Social media users in the area recorded videos of a column of dark smoke rising into the sky above Panshan county. Other videos showed the chemical plant’s structures enveloped in flames, which rescuers claimed took hours to put out.
Graphic photographs showed injured people receiving care at a nearby hospital. According to the video, the explosion’s shockwave broke windows in surrounding buildings.
According to Zhang Hui, a plant owner’s safety representative, Panjin Haoye Chemical Co. Ltd., the explosion occurred as workers performed maintenance at an alkylation unit. He claimed that the cause was a pipe leak, and the chemicals made firefighting difficult for several hours.
The complex that processed petrochemicals and refined oil were shut down. Zhang verified that the missing victims were employees of the facility and claimed that a thorough investigation was still pending.
State media showed the fire consuming entire buildings, pipes, and storage containers as it burned into the night. According to the local fire service, several hundred firefighters and more than 100 fire engines have been sent.
According to the local press, locals who live close by stated they saw debris in the air following the explosion. Authorities warned people to leave because of reports of smashed windows and the potential for another bomb.
One local claimed to have heard the explosion from 25 kilometers away and felt its vibrations.
Despite Beijing’s pledge to enact stricter worker safety regulations, fatal industrial accidents are all too regular in the second-largest economy in the world, where local enforcement of safety standards is frequently inadequate.
In August 2015, a series of explosions at a chemical storage facility in the northeastern port city of Tianjin resulted in the deaths of 173 people, including 104 firefighters, making it one of China’s worst industrial accidents.