Seven explosions in 10 minutes: China chemical plant blast kills 19

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CHENGDU, July 13 (Xinhua) - A blast in an industrial park in southwest China's Sichuan Province has killed 19 and injured 12 on Thursday evening, local authorities said.

All the wounded are in stable condition.

The blast reportedly occurred when workers were changing shifts.

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A septic tank explosion last November destroyed a wide swathe of a light industrial area in Ningbo, just south of Shanghai.

The company that owns the building where the fire occurred is a chemical manufacturer named Hengda, according to the official Xinhua news service.

China's breakneck pace of economic growth during the last decade has resulted in a spate of industrial accidents.

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"I heard seven explosions in ten minutes", an eyewitness told domestic news agency Beijing News. The Chinese government said it has brought several suspects into custody as the Ministry of Emergency Management conducts an investigation into the cause of the explosion. Photos show a huge fire and plumes of smoke rising from the facility. The three-story building of the factory burnt down and the windows of nearby buildings were shattered.

The explosion happened at 6.30pm on Thursday in an industrial zone in Jiangan county, according to a statement issued by the Sichuan Industry Safety Supervision Administration.

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