A tank containing a toxic liquid exploded at a chemical plant in Jiangdu city, Jiangsu province, but no casualties were reported. The director of the city's environmental protection bureau told the South China Morning Post that welding equipment ignited a storage tank of acrylonitrile at the Jiangdu Chemical Plant in Dinghuo Township at 10am on Thursday. Acrylonitrile is used in the manufacture of plastics and rubber, and can induce vomiting, coma or even death. Dinghuo resident Tao Jun said the blast shattered windows in homes up to 50 metres from the plant. But he did not see or hear of anybody injured in the incident. 'The sound of the explosion was really huge. And the fire was up to 10 metres high,' Mr Tao said. The plant is located in the centre of the town, which covers 80 square kilometres and has a population of 50,000. The Jiangdu environmental bureau director said officials had identified faults in the plant's safety management during previous inspections but these had not been rectified. He also said water used to fight the fire had flowed into a nearby river. Samples taken from the river on Thursday after the explosion contained excessive amounts of acrylonitrile. 'We asked residents to avoid using the river water. But the river water has been treated and is safe now,' the director said. A plant official said the blast was a 'small accident' and accused the media of making a 'big fuss'. The Jiangdu municipal government said it knew nothing about the accident and referred questions to the Dinghuo township government. The township government also said it had no knowledge of the explosion.