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Toll climbing in China poultry plant fire

03 June 2013, 13:51

Beijing — Authorities say the death toll has risen to 112 in a massive fire at a poultry plant in northeastern China.

The Jilin provincial government said in a statement posted to its miroblog that dozens of others were injured in Monday's disaster.

It appeared the death toll could continue to rise as more bodies were recovered from the charred buildings in Jilin's Mishazi township.

The fire at the Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry Company has been blamed on a chemical ammonia leak.

Earlier on Monday the Associated Press reported that the fire appeared to have been sparked by three early-morning explosions in the farm's electrical system, citing the official Xinhua News Agency said.

State broadcaster CCTV quoted unidentified workers as saying the fire broke out during a change of shifts and may have originated in a locker room at a time when about 350 workers were at the site.

Rescue workers found the bodies in the charred buildings, and rescue efforts were continuing.

CCTV footage showed dark smoke billowing up from the cement structures.

The fire at the poultry processor highlighted the lax safety standards at many Chinese workplaces. It could also focus renewed scrutiny on China's biggest pork producer, Shuanghui International - unrelated to the poultry plant - as it aims to buy US food giant Smithfield in what would be China's biggest takeover of an American company.

Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry is a major producer of processed chicken and employs about 1 200 people. The plant is located outside the city of Dehui, about 800km northeast of China's capital, Beijing.

- AP

Tags china

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