At least 65 people were killed and 120 injured in a big blast at an automotive workshop in Kunshan City in Jiangsu province in eastern China early Saturday. The explosion happened at a workshop of the Zhongrong Metal Production Co., where wheels were being made for U.S. auto companies, including the General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM).
The blast was triggered by a fire that began in the workshop and spread to engulf a high-density powder, the local CCTV.com reported. Authorities have started to clean up the blast location, where television-network footage captured showed smoke still rising. Almost 200 people are believed to have been working at the time of the explosion. Rescue operations are being carried out at the site, where authorities set up a blood-donation center to help injured workers.
According to the official Xinhua News Agency, seven doctors were present at the location, while some of those injured were being taken to the neighboring cities of Suzhou and Wuxi. Authorities continue to investigate the incident.
Zhongrong specializes in processing aluminum and employs nearly 450 people. Its factory, established in 1998, lies in a development zone of Kunshan, about 31 miles west of Shanghai, Bloomberg News reported.
China has had issues with safety at workplaces in recent years. In August 2012, an blast happened at a coal mine in the southwestern part of China that killed 19 people. In May, a pipeline blew in a coal mine in the northwestern region of Shaanxi province that killed 11. And, in June, another explosion in a coal mine in the southwestern city of Chongqing killed at least 22.