12/02/2013, 00.00
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Prato Chinese Chaplain announces special prayer for fire victims on 8 December

"This painful lesson helps us understand that safety must come first," priest who serves the Chinese community in the Tuscan town tells AsiaNews. "Chinese in Italy are unaware of workplace dangers." The fate of four people still hospitalised in intensive care remains uncertain.

Rome (AsiaNews) - The fire in a factory in Prato (Tuscany), which killed at least seven Chinese workers, "is a painful lesson that carries however a message: safety comes first," Fr Francesco Saverio Wang told AsiaNews. A special prayer will be recited for the dead and injured next Sunday at the Assumption Parish Church, home of the local Chinese Catholic community, the chaplain of Prato's Chinese community added.

The tragedy occurred yesterday in a textile factory. "As soon as I heard the news," Fr Wang said, "I tried to find out more. The death toll continued to rise, up to seven. During Sunday Mass, we prayed for the dead and the injured who are still in serious conditions. Hopefully, they will survive."

For the clergyman, Prato's Chinese community is unique. At 40,000 people, it is a very large community. Laws and rules are not respected everywhere even though inspections are carried out every day. It is well-known that many [Chinese workers] live and unfortunately also die in factories. It is a problem that must be addressed because it makes no sense to sweep things under the carpet."

The problem, he added, "is that the Chinese are not safety-conscious since this kind of tragedy fortunately has never occurred before. Sometimes hazardous materials are used in a cavalier manner, increasing the danger. There are often no fire prevention equipment, and some employers lock doors and gates to supervise better workers. This painful lesson will help us understand that safety always comes first, and hopefully everyone will get it."


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