3 Jun 2013

Fatal fire at Chinese poultry plant

9:07 pm on 3 June 2013

At least 112 people have been killed in a fire at a poultry processing plant in north-east China, according to officials.

The state Xinhua news agency says more than 300 workers were at the plant at Dehui in Jilin province when the fire broke out.

More than 300 workers were at the Baoyuan poultry plant in Dehui in Jilin province when the fire broke out on Monday. More than 50 people were injured and emergency workers searching for survivors are uncertain how many remain trapped.

The slaughterhouse gate was locked when the fire broke out, but about 100 workers managed to escape. The facility had a "complicated interior structure" and narrow exits which were slowing the rescue work, Xinhua said.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, but state broadcaster CCTV said eyewitnesses had heard a blast and suspected a leak of liquid ammonia.

The company began operations in 2009, employs 3000 people and produces 67,000 tonnes of meat per year that is sold nationwide, the Ministry of Agriculture said.

Workplace safety standards can be poor in China, where fatal accidents happen regularly at mines and factories, with some blaming lax enforcement of rules, AFP reports.