Death toll from ex­plo­sion rises to 14

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By MALIE and HUOYANin Xi’an Con­tact the writ­ers at malie@chi­

The death toll from a blast in a res­i­den­tial apart­ment block in Fugu county, Shaanxi prov­ince, on Mon­day has in­creased to 14, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties said. The lo­cal po­lice said after a pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion that the cause of the ac­ci­dent was ex­plo­sives.

Ac­cord­ing to the county gov­ern­ment, 106 peo­ple were in­jured and hos­pi­tal­ized, 11 of whowere said to be in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion, while an­other 41 peo­ple suf­fered mi­nor in­juries.

Among the dead were 10 fe­males and four males, in­clud­ing 12 adults and two chil­dren, a gov­ern­ment source said.

“Emer­gency res­cue work has ended, as there have been no new re­ports of miss­ing peo­ple from the blast,” said Zhang Ji­up­ing, di­rec­tor of Yulin city gov­ern­ment’s in­for­ma­tion of­fice.

The blast oc­curred in Da­jingta vil­lage in the town of Xin­min at about 2 pm on Mon­day, with five res­i­den­tial apart­ments be­ing com­pletely de­stroyed, and an­other 58 apart­ments and the town hospi­tal be­ing partly dam­aged.

Seven peo­ple were found dead at the site of the blast just after the ex­plo­sion, which caused a crater 4 me­ters wide and 2 me­ters deep, and dam­aged63ve­hi­cle­sa­longth­estreet.

Zhang Tiantian, a lo­cal res­i­dent who posted a video of the blast on­line, said in her post that dust and smoke filled the en­tire street after the ex­plo­sion and some peo­ple who were in­jured in the blast were seek­ing med­i­cal as­sis­tance.

The emer­gency ser­vices re­ceived re­ports of the blast at 2:06 pm and sent 10 fire en­gines and more than fire­fight­ers to the site.

The last re­main­ing per­son re­ported miss­ing was found in the rub­ble and sent to hospi­tal at about 2:30 am on Tues­day.

Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal res­i­dents, the blast might have been caused by il­le­gally stored ex­plo­sives.

Chi­nese law pro­hibits any in­di­vid­ual or in­sti­tu­tion from stor­ing ex­plo­sives with­out au­tho­riza­tion.

Fugu is rich in coal re­sources and some lo­cal res­i­dents are said to store ex­plo­sives for coal mine de­vel­op­ment.

On June 26, 2006, a blast caused by ex­plo­sives il­le­gally 70 stored in a base­ment of a res­i­den­tial apart­ment block killed 11 peo­ple and in­jured 20 in Lao­gaochuan, an­other town in the county.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions showed that the five apart­ments that were com­pletely de­stroyed in Mon­day’s blast might have con­tained il­le­gally stored ex­plo­sivesowned­bya res­i­dent, sur­namedZhang, whoisun­der po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Zhang told po­lice that he rented out the apart­ments on Sept 23.

Po­lice said they had de­tained three men who are sus­pected of hav­ing il­le­gally stored the ex­plo­sives.

The lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­ranged for peo­ple whose apart­ments were dam­aged to be ac­com­mo­dated at a lo­cal ho­tel.

were hos­pi­tal­ized in the blast that killed 14 in Fugu county, Shaanxi prov­ince, on Mon­day.

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