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14 dead, 5 injured in fireworks explosion in Shandong
Updated: 2004-04-23 15:59

Fourteen 14 were confirmed dead and five injured in the fireworks explosion at a farmhouse in Jiaocunmiao Village, Changleji Township of Caoxian County, Heze City of east China's Shandong Province on Thursday afternoon, said sources with the local public security department.

The fireworks workshop is an uncertificated one and all workers are illegal employees, said Li Xuemeng, director of the Caoxian County Public Security Bureau.

According to Li, all the 14 killed in the explosion are personnel working at the illegal workshop, including two heads of the workshop and 12 workers. And so far, identities of nine victims were confirmed.

Fifteen houses were ruined during the accident, including the five in the courtyard where the workshop located. And 63 houses around were damaged to some extent.

Located at an unused courtyard, the workshop had been unknown to the neighborhood as a fireworks production site since it was put into operation over 10 days ago.

Among the five injured, three are workers who were working at the workshop when the explosion occurred.

According to Wu Yunhong, the most slightly injured worker, when the explosion occurred, there were around 16 workers at the workshop.

Working at the workshop for eight days, 30-year-old Wu was fortunate to evade death as he was taking a break at the yard when the explosion occurred.

Yang Jisui, an old man at the age of 74, is the most severely injured. As the cook of the workshop, the old man is still in danger because of severe burn.

Free medical treatment will be offered to the five injured and collapsed or damaged houses will be rebuilt or repaired by the local government, said Wang Tiejun, head of the Changleji township.

And 20,000 yuan (US$2,410) will be awarded for families of each victim killed in the accident as compensation, except for the two heads of the workshop, said Wang.

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