Blast kills seven in China

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Photograph of aluminum chloride, a hazardous chemical.
Image: Victorclaessen.

Seven people were killed and 37 were injured Saturday night at an Internet cafe in the southwest region of China's Guizhou province, after the explosion of chemicals being stored illegally at a chemical shop.

Chinese state media reported that sodium nitrate, aluminum chloride, and other chemicals were being kept in a nearby chemical shop and exploded at about 11:05 pm local time (1505 UTC), causing the Internet cafe to catch on fire. It is unknown how the chemicals ignited.

Forty five people were in the cafe when the explosion occurred. Six people died on the scene while one woman suffered major burns and later died in hospital. One person escaped without injury.

The police detained the owner of the chemical shop for "illegal possession of chemicals" according to state media. The cafe manager and boss were also placed in police custody for questioning.

Xinhua reports that one of the bodies was that of a child. Children under the age of eighteen are not allowed in Internet cafes under Chinese law.

According to Li Feiyue of the Qiandongnan Miao-Dong Autonomous Prefecture, "The location and environment of the Internet cafe is not safe. We will find out who approved its operation and who was in charge of safety supervision. They will be held responsible."

Residential buildings in the area also suffered damaged.