China attributes deadly factory blaze to negligence

Beijing, June 7 (IANS/EFE) The Chinese government has said that the fire at a poultry plant that killed 120 people and injured 77 was due to negligence by the company and the regulatory authorities.

The director of the State Administration of Work Safety, Yang Dongliang, made the announcement Thursday from Changchun, capital of the northeastern province of Jilin, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

“The company must not evade its responsibility to maintain safety, nor the government its (responsibility) of supervising the firm’s management,” Yang said.

The preliminary investigation found that safety procedures at the Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry Company are “a total mess”, Yang said.

Some survivors complained to the media about the stampede that was created when the workers inside the plant discovered that the building’s main door had been locked.

The fire surprised the 300 workers who were beginning or ending their shifts at around 6 a.m. Monday.

About 100 people managed to escape the blaze and so far it has been determined that 120 people died and 77 were injured, of whom 15 are in critical condition.

At present, the president of the company and its general director are being held in police custody and the financial assets of the plant have been frozen.

Yang said that the accident also shows that “the local government and relevant authorities failed to successfully carry out their supervisory responsibilities”.



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