Gas plant explosion in China kills 15

Article by Amanda Doyle

A GASIFICATION plant in China’s central Henan province has exploded, killing 15 people and seriously injuring 15 others.

The explosion occurred at 17:45 local time on 19 July at the state-owned Henan Coal Gas facility in Yima. According to news agency Xinhua, the explosion occurred in the facility’s air separation unit.

More than 270 firefighters and over 90 medical workers attended the scene. Many residents received minor injuries. According to video news agency CCTV+, surrounding buildings were badly damaged, including a house 500 m from the blast site which collapsed, injuring an eight-month old child. It also reported that many windows within a 3 km radius were shattered due to the shockwave from the blast.

According to CCTV+, Lu Huachao, Deputy Director of Sanmenxia City's Eco-environment Protection Bureau said that water contaminated during the accident went into the river, and that they are treating the water and building a barrier to prevent it from flowing out.

The plant employs more than 1,200 people. Production at the site has stopped and an investigation is underway.

The Chinese Government vowed to improve safety regulations after an explosion at a chemical warehouse in 2015 killed 173 people, yet major industrial accidents are still a common occurrence. For example, in March 2019, an explosion at a chemical facility killed 78 people and injured at least 600.

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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