BEIJING, CHINA (BNO NEWS) — An explosion ripped through a fireworks factory in central China on late Monday morning, killing seven people and injuring a dozen others, local authorities said. It came just hours after a blast at another fireworks factory also claimed seven lives.
The accident happened at approximately 10:30 a.m. local time at the Dongtun Fireworks Factory in Huaiyang county of Henan province. The factory had previously been ordered to suspend production because its production license had expired, but the owner continued to produce fireworks illegally.
The state-run Xinhua news agency reported that five employees died at the scene while two others died while undergoing emergency treatment at a local hospital, raising the overall death toll to seven. Twelve others were still being treated for their injuries on late Monday, including some who remain in a serious condition.
In a statement, the county government said it has ordered all local fireworks factories to suspend production pending an official investigation. The family members of the owner of the Dongtun Fireworks Factory have been detained, and the business owner himself is currently returning home from a business trip. He is expected to be arrested when he returns, Xinhua reported.
Monday’s deadly blast comes less than a day after an explosion hit the Longfa Fireworks Factory in Yichun, a mountainous prefecture-level city in the eastern province of Jiangxi. The blast killed seven workers while another employee was injured, but his injuries are not considered to be life-threatening.
It was not immediately known what caused either accidents.
Most firework-related accidents happen in China as it is the world’s largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks. The majority of these accidents occur towards the end of the Gregorian calendar’s year when demand for fireworks is high in all parts of the world, but demand is also high for the traditional Chinese New Year’s holiday.
In May 2000, twenty-three people were killed and nearly 950 others were injured when a massive fireworks explosion devastated a neighborhood in the Dutch city of Enschede, making it one of the worst ever disasters of its kind. An explosion at a fireworks factory in the Turkish capital of Istanbul in February 2008 killed 22 people and injured more than 100 others.