08:12 04 June 2013
A fire that broke out at a slaughterhouse in northern China on Monday, 3rd June, has killed at least 119 people, state media has confirmed, as of time of writing. It was also confirmed that more than 50 people were injured.
Based on the reports, there were more than 350 people working in the building when the fire happened and about 100 escaped. This suggests the death toll could rise further.
The Telegraph reported that a Hong Kong based workers’ rights group has said in a statement this “is one of the worst, if not the worst, factory fires in China in living memory.”
One unnamed witness told the Southern Metropolis newspaper that the entire workshop was burned in just 3 minutes and about 30 workers managed to escape. Other witnesses recounted scenes of panic as desperate workers stampeded to escape the flames.
A 44-year-old survivor told Xinhua: “Someone shouted ‘Run away!’ and we quickly ran to the exit, which is about 40 metres away from my seat. Suddenly, the lights inside went out and the plant got quite dark.”
“When I finally ran out and looked back at the plant, I saw high flames,"
China Radio International reported that rescue work is ongoing and that the exact number of people trapped in the plant has not yet been confirmed.
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