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Death toll from explosion rises to 14

By Ma Lie and Huo Yan in Xi'An | China Daily | Updated: 2016-10-26 06:54

Death toll from explosion rises to 14

Rescuers search for people after an explosion hit five prefabricated houses on Oct 25, 2016. The explosion happened late Oct 24. [Photo/Xinhua]

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 who were 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 damaged 63 vehicles along the street.

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 70 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 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 explosives owned by a resident, surnamed Zhang, who is under 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.


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