Explosion at firecracker factory leaves 20 dead, 80 injured

Twenty people have died and more than 80 others were injured in a terrible explosion at Z121 Plant that makes firecrackers, in the Northern Province of Phu Tho on October 12.

A house nearby the firecracker factory is damaged after the explosion (Photo: SGGP)

The explosion broke glass doors, cracked walls and blew off roofs of houses in the area of five kilometers in Khai Xuan and Vo Lao Communes in Thanh Ba District.

According to residents living near the factory, the explosion occurred around 8am at the warehouse of the workshop.

At first, a column of white smoke rose which was followed by a loud explosion and then a fire column up to 100 meter high and smelling of dynamite spread across the air.

Initial reports said 20 people had died, of which 19 were workers of the factory.

So far, 14 of them have been verified and five others are waiting autopsy. Injured workers were rushed to medical facilities in Phu Tho Province and the National Institute of Burn.

The cause of the explosion might have been dynamite used for firecrackers that ignited in the warehouse of the factory.

Right after the explosion and fire, province leaders mobilized forces including firefighters, military soldiers and residential block guards to evacuate locals living near the scene. The leaders also asked medical workers to treat injured workers urgently.

The Ministry of Health has sent three teams of doctors from big hospitals Viet Duc, Bach Mai and the National Institute of Burn to treat victims of the explosion.

The Z121 Plant under the Ministry of Defense is the only place in the country that produces firecrackers for festivals nationwide.  The Ministry of Defense has provided VND50 million (US$2,374) to dead workers’ families and VND10 million (US$475) to injured workers.

The General Department of Military also gave VND5 million and VND3 million to dead and injured workers’ families as initial financial support.

By Minh Khang, Van Phuc - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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