(Photo: Fenmiao Video)
There were no reported casualties and people have been safely evacuated after an explosion ripped through a chemical factory in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province, according to a statement the local government released on its Wechat account.
The flames were extinguished following a government emergency plan involving a firefighter brigade of Zhuhai of 200 firefighters, said the statement.
The explosion happened at about 1:40 pm and the cause of the accident is being investigated.
A witness told Global Times that many people were seen running out of the factory with thick smoke after the blast.
A local environmental monitoring station showed no abnormality in the air.
The Zhuhai Changlian Petrochemical Equipment Co had been warned of 15 potential safety hazards during an inspection in July 2019. Media reported that a fire broke out at the company five years ago due to a furnace tube burst.
"How could this happen to a factory that has already been inspected with security loopholes just half a year ago?" said one Sina Weibo user.
The accident made workers in the chemistry industry worried about their own safety.
A staff member, surnamed Lin, at a chemical factory near Changlian said that the increasing number of explosions at chemical factories has made the local government strengthen efforts to regulate safety inspections at the factory he works at and also caused him to be more cautious with safety regulations at work.
"Following such incidents, the ministry of emergency management would request the company to do the self-check of the safety hazard and inspections would be conducted more than 30 times a year," Lin said.
China has improved chemical industry safety by rolling out a slew of measures to upgrade and regulate chemical factories after 78 people were killed at a deadly chemical plant explosion in Xiangshui county, East China's Jiangsu Province in March 2019.
China established a ministry of emergency management in 2018 to forestall and defuse serious risks and improve the national capability on disaster relief.