8 Jan 2010 10:06

Petrochemical blast in Lanzhou leaves 15 injured

Shanghai. January 8. INTERFAX-CHINA - An explosion at a petrochemical plant in Lanzhou City, Gansu Province, has left 15 people injured and another five missing, state media reported on Jan. 8.

At least one victim was in serious condition following the blast, which occurred at 5:30 p.m. Beijing time on Jan. 7, People's Daily reported. The explosion caused a fire that continued to blaze as of 9 a.m. on Jan. 8 despite the large number of firefighters at the scene.

Gansu firefighters said it might take up to 20 hours to completely put out the fire.

China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), which owns the plant, said early on Jan. 8 that a preliminary investigation revealed that the blast was caused by flammable chemicals that had leaked from storage tanks at the plant.

Provincial environment authorities said the explosion has not resulted in any dangerous emissions, though the air in the 800 meters around the plant now is eight times dustier than normal.

Environmental authorities also said that they would make sure that the water used to fight the fire would not contaminate the Yellow River.