CHINA / Regional

47 killed in village explosion in Shanxi
Updated: 2006-07-07 10:12

A powerful explosion at a villager's home in Shanxi province killed 47 people and injured 20 others early Friday morning, Xinhua reported.

Earlier reports put the death toll at 30, but it rises as rescue operation goes on.

The blast, said to be triggered off by explosives stored home, occurred at about 6:30am at the home of a villager in Dongzhai Village, Dongzhai Township, Ningwu county, north China's Shanxi province.

A county official said the villager's home caught fire first and then many villagers rushed there to help extinguish the blaze.

Suddenly, an explosion occurred and 37 were killed in the explosion, and ten more died in the process of medical treatment.

Preliminary investigation found that the explosion was caused by illegally stored explosives in the fire, the official said. But it is unknown how much explosive the villager illegalled stored at his one-story house.

Rescue efforts are underway there and local officials have rushed to the site to direct the rescue operation. More than 200 fire fighters, armed police and public security police are busy clearing off the debris from the explosion.

The cause of the explosion is under further investigation, Xinhua reported.

Zhang Baoshun, secretary of the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), demanded that all out efforts be made to rescue the injured, and responsible persons be punished according to law.

Ningwu County, administered by Xinzhou City, takes a bus ride of more than four hours to reach from Taiyuan, the provincial capital.

Party and government authorities of Ningwu and Xinzhou have rushed to the spot to oversee the rescue work.

A rescue headquarters, with the leader of Ningwu County Government as the commander-in-chief and consisting of seven specialized-task missions, has been formed to carry out the rescue operation.

More than 200 fire fighters, armed police and public security police are busy clearing off the debris from the explosion.

Ningwu was not the first time shattered by this fatal blast. In July 2 last year, a gas explosion at the Jiajiabao Coal Mine in Ningwu killed 36 people and injured 11. The mine's owner hid the bodies of 17 dead miners after explosion to evade punishment.

With vast coal reserves, Shanxi Province, commonly known as "sea of coal, is the biggest coal producer in China. However, legions of fatal accidents occur in the province each year, and tragedies caused by illegal storage of explosives used for mining.

A similar bloody explosive explosion occurred in Yuanping City of the province in April this year. More than three tons of explosives illegally hidden in the garage of the staff hospital affiliated to the Xuangang Coal and Electricity Company detonated, killing 34 people.

In June this year, 10 people were killed when privately stored explosives went off in a residential building in Fanshi County of Shanxi Province.