19 dead in S. China firework-triggered blast

Updated: 2010-02-27 09:27
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GUANGZHOU - An explosion triggered by fireworks have killed 19 people and injured 50 in south China's Guangdong Province, local authorities said Saturday.

The explosion occurred at Shiqiaotou Village, Junbu Township of Puning City at about 8:00 p.m. Friday, according to the provincial public security department and Puning city government.

Villager Yang Junshu and his family were setting off firecrackers in front of his house. It is believed that the flame ignited other fireworks on the ground and caused huge explosion, a witness surnamed Yang, whose house is about 200 meters away from the scene, told Xinhua.

Bodies of 13 people were discovered at the scene Friday night and six others died in hospital later.

Police said two suspects had been detained, without revealing their identities.

Police and work safety official have started a safety check on the sale, storage, transportation and the use of fireworks in Puning. Officials said they would close all unlicensed retailers.

Fireworks and firecrackers are a necessity for celebrating the Lunar New Year, the most important holiday in China. The holiday ends Sunday.