Beijing said late on Friday (March 22) it had sent a senior cabinet official to the site of a chemical plant blast in eastern China and set up a central government task force to investigate the cause of Thursday's explosion.
But it was cold comfort to residents and environmental groups in Yancheng who believe the explosion at the Chenjiagang industrial park - which left at least 64 people dead and injured more than 600 - could prove their concerns over safety and pollution at the factory were valid.
Zhang Wenbin, from a local environmental protection group, recalled the scene when he arrived at the disaster zone surrounding the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical plant late on Thursday.
"The fire was not extinguished till 12am and the wind was blowing hard," Zhang said. "We could only survey the scene from upwind of the site - we were worried about the toxic gas downwind."