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Explosion rocks PX plant in E China

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-30 21:40

FUZHOU - A flash fire followed by an explosion erupted at a paraxylene (PX) plant in East China's Fujian province early Tuesday morning, injuring several residents in a nearby village.

The accident caused no chemical leaks or pollution, said Huang Yaozhi, board chairman of Tenglong Aromatic Hydrocarbon (Zhangzhou) Co. Ltd. The controversial chemical plant was built in 2009 on Gulei Peninsula after its planned construction in the coastal city of Xiamen was called off amid protests over potential pollution.

Huang said the blast and fire broke out at a cracked hydrogen pipeline at 4:35 a.m. as it underwent a pressure test. The fire was put out at 5:15 a.m.

Eight workers were at the site at the time of the accident, but none were injured, Huang added.

The blast, however, shattered windows in the nearby Xingzai Village and caused objects to fall, injuring some villagers, Xinhua reporters on the scene said.

Villager Lin Jianzhou said he heard a whistling noise followed by a big bang. Lin's leg was injured when the roof of his house collapsed in the shockwave.

The municipal government of Zhangzhou, which administers Gulei, has set up a team to investigate the accident and assess the damage.

The factory produces PX, a chemical used to make fabrics and plastic bottles. It was in its trial production phase, and full operations were expected to start by the end of this year, according to Huang.

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