There was a massive explosion of three naphtha tanks at a plant in Zhangzhou, China. The explosion caused an enormous fire ball. Firefighters from several nearby cities were involved in extinguishing the blaze.
Workers and residents were evacuated, and there were 177 fire engines with 829 crew members involved in the emergency operation, the state news agency reported.
New China TV reports, six injured in PX plant explosion in SE China:
The fire department also noted that soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) chemical warfare unit participated in firefighting efforts, although the nature of their contribution was not described, C&EN said on their website.
An explosion at a China chemical plant:
Health authorities said six injured people are being treated in the hospital, while another 13 people had received medical examinations, reported the state news agency.
According to investigators, a xylene facility leaked oil and caught fire, which led to blasts and a fire at three nearby oil storage tanks.
The plant produces a chemical called paraxylene, and was going to be constructed in Xiamen. But after protests by residents fearing potential health hazards, the authorities were forced to relocate it to a less-populated area in Zhangzhou, a coastal province of Fujian.
CCTV reports on an explosion at a chemical plant in Zhangzhou:
The plant is operated by Xianglu Tenglong Group, owned by Dragon Aromatics. The plant was making up to 800,000 tons of p-Xylene, a hydrocarbon commonly used for making polyester. Mirror said on their website that the plant is set to expand its production of naphtha, a base product for paraxylene, by 40% by end of this month to 5.5 million tons a year.
In China, p-Xylene is a highly controversial chemical.
Large protests have erupted in recent years in the cities of Xiamen, Maoming, Dalian, and Kunming to demand that p-xylene facilities be either shut down or not built at all. Elsewhere in the world, the material, used in the production of polyester fiber and resin, is produced without creating a great deal of controversy, C&EN said.