Su­dan says at least 23 killed in factory fire

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD -

CAIRO — At least 23 peo­ple have died in a huge ex­plo­sion that tore through a tile factory in Su­dan’s cap­i­tal of Khartoum on Tues­day, the gov­ern­ment said.

The blaze also in­jured more than130 peo­ple, sev­eral crit­i­cally, the cab­i­net added, sug­gest­ing the death toll from the blaze could rise as burn vic­tims were be­ing treated at lo­cal hos­pi­tals.

“We felt a huge quake. We rushed to see what was hap­pen­ing and were shocked to find a fire and ev­ery­one flee­ing,” eye­wit­ness Said Mo­hammed alHas­san told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

A gas tanker had abruptly caught fire and ex­ploded, de­stroy­ing the factory.

The gov­ern­ment or­dered an investigat­ion into the ex­act cause and what it de­scribed as a lack of ba­sic safety mea­sures at a site full of com­bustible ma­te­rial.

Po­lice of­fi­cial Mo­hammed alKhatem Has­san said a “tech­ni­cal mis­take” oc­curred while the fuel truck was un­load­ing.

Video footage on so­cial me­dia showed an ex­plo­sion launch a ball of fire into the sky, send­ing work­ers scram­bling for cover. Huge plumes of dense black smoke bil­lowed above the plant.

Fire­fight­ers cleared the area within a few hours, pulling bod­ies out on stretch­ers and leav­ing the factory a charred ruin.

The gov­ern­ment ex­pressed its “deep­est con­do­lences” to the fam­i­lies of vic­tims and wished a “swift re­cov­ery to all wounded.”

Su­dan has suf­fered from var­i­ous in­dus­trial ac­ci­dents in re­cent months, rais­ing con­cerns about the ad­e­quacy of health and safety reg­u­la­tions. Ear­lier this year, a fire caused par­tial dam­age to the pres­i­den­tial palace in Khartoum.

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