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Death toll rises to 15 from C. China gas factory blast | Updated: 2019-07-20 17:26
This aerial photo shows the explosion site at a gas plant in Central China's Henan province, July 20, 2019. [Photo by Wang Zhongju/China News Service]

BEIJING/ZHENGZHOU - A total of 15 people have been killed and 15 others severely injured after an explosion ripped through a gas plant in Central China's Henan province Friday, local authorities confirmed Saturday.

A device in the gas factory owned by the Henan Coal Gas (Group) Co Ltd, located in the city of Yima, exploded at around 5:45 pm Friday, according to the government of Sanmenxia City, which administers Yima.

This aerial photo shows the explosion site at a gas plant in Central China's Henan province, July 20, 2019.[Photo by Wang Zhongju/China News Service]

The blast also left an unidentified number of people slightly injured, according to local government. The injured have been sent to hospital for treatment.

The Ministry of Emergency Management has sent a work team and the National Health Commission has dispatched medical experts to the site.

Further investigation is underway.

Picture shows the scene of the explosion. [Photo/IC]

"The sound was extremely loud, with a ball of fire and clouds of smoke in the air," said a local citizen who was 500 meters away from the gas plant when the explosion occurred, quoted by the Beijing News.

"Customers who bought goods outside were scratched by broken glass," he said.

The factory was this month named the first provincial-level enterprise to put in place a double prevention system for safety production risks in Henan.

The Yima gas plant of Henan Gas Co Ltd was established in 1997, covering an area of 87 hectares, with more than 1,200 employees, according to a Southern Metropolitan Daily report.

It is listed as a key monitoring enterprise of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the report said.

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