Blast at chemical plant in China damages nearby homes

Factory workers living in eastern China’s Anhui province surveyed the damage done to their homes on Thursday (February 9), a day after a blast at a chemical plant nearby.

The explosion at the plant in Tongling city on Wednesday (February 8) night at around 10:40 p.m. (1440 GMT) caused no injuries, according to China’s state media.

CCTV had initially reported that two people had minor injuries after the accident, but later revised the figure.

The strong shockwaves from the blast damaged a nearby residential complex just as workers from a neighbouring factory were beginning to settle down for the night.

“I thought it was an earthquake,” said one 50-year-old worker, Liu Chaobing, who had gone to bed at 10:00 p.m. (1400 GMT). “It was really scary.”

“I was shocked and ran back to my dormitory room… there was dust everywhere in this shabby room. I hid myself under the bed and did not dare come out,” said another worker, 61-year-old Chen Zhisheng.

The workers who had been staying in the damaged buildings packed up what remained of their belongings on Thursday and said they were moving to another dormitory.

Footage of the blast on Wednesday night, which was widely shared on social media, showed flames shooting high into the night sky.

State media said the fire from the explosion had being brought under control by Thursday morning.

Deadly accidents are relatively common at industrial plants in China.

China has vowed to improve safety at such facilities. President Xi Jinping has said authorities would learn the lessons paid for with blood after chemical blasts in the port city of Tianjin killed 165 people in 2015.