Six dead, seven wounded in factory blaze in China

Screams as people rush to roof in bid to escape and become trapped by smoke

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 May, 2016, 3:30pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 May, 2016, 11:00pm

At least six people died and seven were wounded on Saturday when explosions sparked a fire at a factory building in Zhengzhou, Henan province.

The dead bodies were found when firemen cleared the site and the wounded were sent to hospital, the city’s fire brigade said.

It was not clear if the six dead included a person who reportedly jumped from the roof to escape.

The fire broke out at a factory building in Zhengzhou National Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone at about 1pm following a series of explosions, witnesses said.

A total of 140 fire fighters in 26 trucks were sent to fight the blaze, which was extinguished by about 4pm, having burned through an area of 700 square metres.

“The first explosion was very loud and the glass windows of the sixth floor of the building broke up,” a local resident surnamed Jiang told the South China Morning Post. Flames engulfed the building and more explosions followed, said Jiang, who was working nearby.

Screams for help could be heard as workers at the factory building ran to the roof in an effort to escape but became trapped by dense smoke, reported local official news portal Dahe, com. One person died jumping from the roof in an effort to escape, it said.

Victims trapped as ‘explosions heard’ in deadly factory fire in China’s Jilin province

The fire brigade said the cause of the blaze was under investigation. Residents speculated it was caused by a circuit failure. The building was previously used by a hospital that moved out before the Lunar New Year, they said.

The lack of fire prevention measures at some factories has become an increasing concern in recent years. The deaths of 119 people in a fire at a poultry plant in Jilin in 2013 were blamed on a lack of fire escapes and the locking of the only exit during working hours. Survivors said the factory had never conducted a fire drill.