An explosion outside a chemical plant in northeastern China has killed at least 22 people and destroyed many vehicles.

The explosion occurred around midnight in a cargo area near a Hebei Shenghua Chemical Industry Co. Ltd. plant, according to a statement issued by the Zhangjiakou government.

Zhangjiakou is also a city where some competitions of the Winter Olympics of 2022 will take place.

Another 22 people were injured. 38 trucks and 12 cars were destroyed by fire.

In a statement, authorities asked citizens not to go to the scene of the accident to watch.

The causes of the accident are not known for now.

According to the investigators, it is possible that a truck carrying highly flammable material to be used by another nearby chemical plant exploded, involving the Shenghua plant.

The flames spread to the other trucks but not to the Shenghua plant, which continued to operate normally.

CCTV footage shows rows and rows of destroyed tank trucks and columns of smoke rising, several hours after the explosion.

Chlorine was produced in the plant, used in textiles, paper, construction, and as a disinfectant, and as a component of other chemical compositions.

Numerous other chemicals are produced in the plant.

The company is a subsidiary of China National Chemical Corporation, controlled by the Chinese government and is the largest chemical company in the country.

Industrial security has been a serious problem in China for years.

In 2015, Tianjin was devastated by a catastrophic explosion that killed 173 people.

On 4 November, 52 people became intoxicated when 7 tonnes of a common chemical additive escaped during loading operations in a ship in Fujian Province.

Source: Time


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