06/03/2013, 00.00
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Jilin: devastating fire in poultry plant, over 55 dead

Firefighters are still trying to extinguish the flames. Several people still trapped in the structure devoid of emergency exits. The plant employs more than 1,200 workers.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies), -  The provisional toll from a devastating fire that erupted this morning in a poultry processing plant in Dehui Jilin Province (North East China) is at least 55 dead and 41 wounded.  According to local media, the firefighters are still struggling to put out the flames. At the time of the tragedy about 300 people were at work. The Baoyuan plant is among the largest in the area and employs over 1200 workers.

Some witnesses claim that the flames were preceded by three loud explosions, perhaps because of a short circuit in the control panel of one of the sheds. Many people were trapped inside the structure which has narrow corridors and no emergency exits.

The first images of the tragedy have already begun appearing on the internet. They show thick smoke coming from the structures of concrete and steel, built with toxic materials. To avoid poisoning, the police created a one kilometer security cordon around the structure.

The Dehui incident one again raises the question of compliance with safety standards of Chinese companies. The most serious cases are mainly in the mining sector that holds the record for victims with about 20 thousand deaths per year.


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