Blast at pesticide firm in northwestern China leaves 8 hurt, 6 missing

Smoke billows from fire behind a damaged pesticide firm the explosion.
PHOTO: Reuters

At least eight people are injured and six remain missing after an explosion in a chemical industrial estate at 6.58pm on Thursday (June 16) in Lanzhou, Gansu province, in northwestern China.

More than 300 fire and rescue personnel and 47 rescue vehicles were sent to the scene. According to Xinhua, the injured victims are in a stable condition.

It is not known what caused the blast that occurred in the sewage treatment workshop of Binnong Technology in Qinchuan, Lanzhou New Area, with the explosion covering an area of about 600 square metres (6,500 square feet).

Yin Hong, secretary of the provincial party committee, arrived at the scene of the explosion and called for all-out efforts to search for the missing, according to a statement by the Lanzhou government.

The company is mainly engaged in the production and management of pesticide intermediates and pesticide products, and is now in the trial production stage, according to the Lanzhou government website.

There have been several major explosions at industrial sites in China in recent years. At least 25 people were killed and more than 100 injured when a gas pipe exploded in a market in Shiyan in June last year , prompting an order from President Xi Jinping for cadres to “stay vigilant and politically sensitive” in preventing major safety hazards.

In 2019, a chemical plant blast in Yancheng, Jiangsu Province, killed 78 people and injured hundreds more. Yancheng city’s government shut down the chemical plant after the explosion, which cost direct economic losses of 1.986 billion yuan (S$411 million) and was so powerful it was believed to have caused a magnitude 2.2 earthquake.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.