Report: Explosion in China Auto-Parts Facility Kills 17

Dec 31, 2014 10:23 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma

An explosion in a Chinese auto-parts facility reportedly killed 17 people and injured 20 more, according to Chinese media. 

The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. today at a Fuwa Engineering Manufacturing Co. plant in the Guangdong province in southern China, Bloomberg reported via China's Xinhua News Agency.

The state news outlet, which cited local authorities, reported that those injured from the blasts were being treated at nearby hospitals. Xinhua didn't include details as to the cause of the explosion.

According to Reuters, the Southern Metropolitan Daily said the three blasts were likely due to a welding accident.

The Fuwa plant produces auto parts such as axles for trucks and buses.

An even more devastating explosion earlier this year inspired Chinese authorities to revamp safety regulations at factories that work with explosive materials.

On Aug. 2, an explosion at a plant that makes auto parts killed 75 people and injured more than 180. Later reports put the death count at 146 because so many more died due to injuries.

The tragic incident at Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Co.'s facility, which was China's deadliest industrial disaster of 2014, brought safety issues to the attention of the State Council.

China's cabinet has ordered a "nationwide overhaul" when it comes to safety standards at such facilities, Bloomberg reported.

The Chinese government has fired two senior officials due to the August explosion, Reuters reported via state media. Eighteen people will be prosecuted as well, including the chairman of the company that owned the plant.

"Kunshan city's Communist Party boss Guan Aiguo and mayor Lu Jun have been removed from their posts, while deputy provincial governor Shi Heping has been given an administrative punishment," according to Reuters.

The facility has been closed, and authorities will seek the maximum fine possible for the company, Xinhua said. 

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