Efforts have been made to improve work safety standards but deadly industrial accidents remain common in China, where enforcement of safety regulations can sometimes be lax.
The blast occurred at the Yibin Hengda Technology Co., a chemical plant in an industrial park in the city of Yibin in Sichuan province at 6.30 pm yesterday, Xinhua said. China is known to have reoccurring chemical plant explosions.
Reuters reports that the 12 persons injured in the explosion and fire at the Sichuan facility are in stable condition, and that an investigation into the incident has begun.
Photos of the accident's aftermath on a local news site showed what appeared to be the burned out shell of a building surrounded by rubble. The company makes chemicals for the food and pharmaceutical industries.
China has been rocked by several industrial accidents in recent years.
In 2015, an explosion in a chemical warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin killed 165 people.
The explosions caused more than $1 billion in damage and sparked widespread anger at a perceived lack of transparency over the accident's causes and its environmental impact. Tianjin's mayor at the time of the accident was sentenced to 12 years in prison for graft.
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