1 killed and 9 injured in east China chemical plant blast

BEIJING - An explosion at a chemical plant in east China late Saturday killed one person and injured nine people with 150 firefighters battling the resulting blaze, state media reported.

The blast comes after 121 people were killed in massive explosions earlier this month at a hazardous goods storage facility in the northern port city of Tianjin.

The incident Saturday occurred at a plant in Huantai county near the city of Zibo in Shangdong province, Xinhua news agency said, citing the official Sina Weibo microblog account of the Zibo public security bureau.

The fire was extinguished early Sunday, Xinhua reported. Earlier it said firefighters from neighbouring cities were heading to help tackle the blaze.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

The plant is a subsidiary of Shangdong's Runxing Group and produces chemicals including adiponitrile, a combustible chemical mainly used in the production of nylon, Xinhua said.

In Tianjin, 54 people are still missing after the explosions which sparked fears of toxic pollutants contaminating the air and water of the city, which has a population of around 15 million people.

Thousands of tonnes of hazardous chemicals were stored at the site, officials have said, including about 700 tonnes of highly poisonous sodium cyanide, a white powder or crystal which can give off lethal hydrogen cyanide gas.