A massive explosion rocked a chemical factory in eastern China on Thursday, resulting in widespread destruction and loss of human life. A nearby kindergarten and numerous factories were in the path of the blast, adding to the number of casualties.
So far, six people have been reported dead and at least 30 seriously injured.
“Occurring at around 2:50 p.m. local time, the blast at the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical factory, which produces fertilizer and pesticides, created a fireball and billowing clouds over the industrial park area in Yancheng, Jiangsu, province, according to BBC.
Images have emerged on social media that show “a fireball erupting at the site, billowing clouds enveloping the area, injured people, and damage to buildings.
"Shockwaves from the explosion shattered nearby windows of residential buildings and destroyed cars, injuring many through flying debris.
Children are among those injured as online maps show 10 schools are within the 5K radius of the explosion.
“Workers were trapped after buildings were knocked down by the shock wave, which also shattered windows of nearby homes,” reported state-run news agency Xinhua.
“Witnesses said many workers were seen running out of the factory covered in blood after the blast.”
Surveillance video captured the exact moment of the explosion.
Tianjiayi Chemical has had numerous safety issues since its founding in 2007, prompting The State Administration of Work Safety to cite the company 13 times for various violations, including failure to provide adequate safety training for management employees.
“In addition, the company has received past punishments for ‘failures regarding solid waste management, environmental impact assessments, and air pollution,’ according to the South China Morning Post.
Authorities say the blast toppled nearby factory buildings, trapping workers inside and injuring passersby.
Firefighters were battling the blaze well into the evening. The exact cause of the explosion is under investigation.
China is no stranger to this type of incident, as safety standards for chemical factories are considered subpar.
In 2015, Two massive explosions in the port of Tianjin killed more than 160 people. The conflagrations were blamed on “haphazard management of explosive materials and poor regulations.”
Then, in 2018, another explosion that killed 23 people occurred in the Hebei Province (near Beijing). That was also attributed to their poor “safety management systems.”
WARNING: Video, below, shows injured children. Some images are graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion advised