38 Killed, 2 Injured In China Industrial Plant Fire

Thirty-eight people were killed and two were injured in a fire at a factory in central China, state media said Tuesday, with authorities blaming workers for illegal welding.

The fire broke out at a plant in Anyang City in Henan Province on Monday afternoon, news agency Xinhua reported.

Rescue services first received reports of a fire at 4:22 pm (0822 GMT) at Anyang Kaixinda Trading Co., Ltd, according to state media.

“After receiving the alarm, the municipal fire rescue detachment immediately dispatched forces to the scene,” state broadcaster CCTV said.

It added that the fire was extinguished by around 11 pm local time.

Footage from the scene shared by CCTV showed thick plumes of black smoke from the fire, with at least two trucks in position to battle the flames.

In addition to the dead, two were sent to hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, the state-run People’s Daily said.

Authorities said “criminal suspects” had been taken into custody in connection with the fire.

CCTV then reported, citing local officials, that a preliminary investigation had found the fire was caused by “electric welding in which workers violated safety measures.”

According to data provider Tianyancha, Anyang Kaixinda Trading Co. is a wholesale trader dealing in machinery, building materials, non-hazardous chemicals, clothing and fire-fighting equipment.