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Dereliction of duty behind S. China chemical plant blast: watchdog

SERIOUS dereliction of duty was behind the blast at a controversial chemical plant in China's southeastern Fujian province, the country’s work safety watchdog said.

The accident exposed severe problems in safety management, said Huang Yi, spokesman of the State Administration of Work Safety, on a press conference held on Wednesday.

The involved executives and officials will be severely punished, he added.

The Tenglong Aromatic Hydrocarbon plant in Zhangzhou city produces paraxylene (PX), an alleged carcinogenic industrial chemical used for making fiber and plastics.

Blast ripped through the plant at around 7pm on April 6 after a xylene facility leaked oil and triggered a fire at three nearby oil storage tanks. The flames were believed to be smothered about 21 hours later.

However, the fire later reignited for three times, including once that the fourth oil tank broke, oil leaked and exploded. The fire was finally extinguished at around 3pm on April 9.

Six people were hospitalized, including five injured by broken glass. And nearly 30,000 residents were evacuated. But the local environment wasn’t polluted, local officials said.

Huang said the plant executives highly valued output but underestimated safety risks and they asked one who offered the lowest bid to build facilities, which posed severe safety hazards.

Besides, the layout of facilities are unreasonable: xylene facilities are too close with oil tanks.


 

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