Toyota Restarts Production At Tianjin Factories After Explosions

Aug 28, 2015 10:36 AM EDT | John Nassivera

Toyota announced Wednesday that it is slowly restarting production at its factories in Tianjin two weeks after chemical explosions resulted caused over a hundred deaths and destruction of vehicles.

Employees for the Japanese automaker started preparatory work on Thursday before manufacturing resumed, according to BBC News.

"From tomorrow (August 27), we will be gradually restarting production (at the affected plants in Tianjin). We will continue to prioritize safety above everything else, and will proceed with caution while monitoring the situation," Toyota said in a statement, Reuters reported.

Huge blasts at a chemical storage site, which took place, while Toyota's carmaker factories were closed for a vacation period, killed 139 people and injured hundreds others, 67 of which were Toyota employees. Thousands of vehicles were also destroyed in the explosions.

Two factories were shut down because of the explosions, including the main factory, which produces the Corolla and other popular models, and a factory about 44 miles away from Tianjin, BBC News reported. Toyota previously decided to delay the restart to evaluate the incident.

Chemicals that were stored at the site included 1,300 tons of potentially explosive oxidizing chemicals, Reuters reported. Experts said that firefighters using water to fight the blaze may have combined with the chemicals to form an explosive gas.

"So far, we have been inspecting our production facilities and ensuring machinery is safe to operate, while conducting maintenance as necessary," Toyota said.

Several other auotmakers were affected by the Tianjin explosions, including Land Rover and Volkswagen.

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