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Blast tears apart village, killing 14
By Qingchuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-10 22:08

An explosion that ripped through a small community in Central China's Henan Province has killed 14 villagers.

Sources with local government confirmed said five other people from Zhaolou Village in Baofeng County were wounded and were rushed to hospital. They are in a stable condition.

The explosion occurred at about 7:00 pm, causing the collapse of several houses.

Initial investigations show the blast was caused by mine explosives illegally stored at the home of a farmer.

How the deadly cache ignited has yet to be confirmed but the blast appears to be similar to an explosion in March which left 12 dead -- including school children and teacher.

On March 2, dynamite stored at the home of a coal mine owner in a village in Puxian County, North China's Shanxi Province, exploded, killing 12 people.

The explosion ripped through a neighbouring primary school.

The mine owner, Lu Maolin, who was also killed, stored at least 300 kilograms of explosives in his bedroom.

Last year in the same county, more than 1,000 detonators exploded at the Tailin Village on July 7, killing seven.

The disaster was triggered by one of the dead, Chen Wenyao, who stored the explosives under his bed.

He fell asleep while smoking and the cigarette end triggered a huge blast that wrecked his and other homes, killing his parents, an aunt and neighbours.

It is illegal to store such materials at home but there has been a recent flouting of the law nationwide as demand on mines increases.

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