08/02/2014, 00.00
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Jiangsu factory explosion leaves at least 65 dead, hundreds injured

The explosion was caused by contact between fine metal powder and naked flame. The Zhongrong Plating Company in Kunshan (50 kilometers from Shanghai) manufactures automotive components: its customers include General Motors. The hospitals are requesting assistance from other health care facilities and appealing to public to donate blood.

Shanghai (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An early morning explosion inside a car components factory in the eastern province of Jiangsu has killed 65 people. At least 150 were wounded, with "dozens" in a serious condition. The causes of the disaster, one of the worst occurred in China this year,  is still unknown,  However some believe it was started by contact between fine metal powder and naked flame. Rescue operations are underway, while local hospitals are asking for help from larger structures in neighboring Shanghai.

The blast occurred at 7:37 am (local time) in the Zhongrong Plating Company in Kunshan, an industrial town located in the southern part of the province (about 50 kilometers west of Shanghai). The area has been sealed off by the authorities, but the images aired by China Central Television showed huge columns of black smoke rising from the damaged structure. A witness wrote on Sina Weibo: "The area is a disaster, it's unbelievable."

Kunshan medical staff confirm the hospitalization of "more than 100 people" who have varying degrees of burns and respiratory infections caused by the inhalation of toxic smoke. Rescuers are trying to limit the damage, while the authorities are not yet able to confirm the number of victims. The hospitals in Kunshan and Suzhou have enlisted the help of those in Shanghai, and have urged residents to donate blood.

Zhongrong Plating managers have not yet commented on the incident. The factory employs more than 450 workers, and counts many of the U.S. car companies including General Motors among its clients.



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