Blast at illegal workshop in eastern China kills 13

WENZHOU, CHINA (BNO NEWS) -- A large explosion and resulting fire Sunday ripped through an illegal family-owned workshop in eastern China, killing at least thirteen people and injuring more than a dozen others, government officials said on Monday.

The blast occurred at around 4:30 p.m. local time on Sunday in a village located in the Ouhai district of Zhejiang province, located in eastern China. The powerful explosion triggered a huge fire at the scene which raged an area of some 200 to 300 square meters (239 to 358 square yards).

A spokesperson for the State Administration of Work Safety said the explosion and resulting fire killed thirteen people and injured fourteen others who were inside the building, which was completely destroyed. The workshop, owned and operated by a family, was undocumented and focused on polishing and processing hardware locks.

The state-run Xinhua news agency said an initial investigation showed the blast was caused by sparks coming from a polishing machine, igniting some material inside the building. It was not immediately clear if the owners were among those killed, or if they would be facing prosecution.

The rapid economic growth in China, in combination with poor safety measures, frequently result in deadly industrial accidents. In late February, thirteen people were killed and 43 others were injured when a blast ripped through a chemical plant in China's northern Hebei province.

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