Company that reportedly owns LPG tanker that exploded in E.China killing 19, penalized 10 times

By Wan Lin and Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/14 21:13:40

Central govt sends investigation team to site, 172 others injured

Rescue staff work on the rubble from the explosion of a liquefied petroleum gas tanker truck on the highway in East China's Zhejiang Province on Saturday. The accident caused 19 deaths and 172 injuries as of Sunday. Photo: cnsphoto.

China's State Council, the cabinet, announced on Sunday it would supervise the investigation into the explosion of a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanker truck on the highway in East China's Zhejiang Province, which left 19 people dead and injured 172. 

The company that reportedly owned the truck had 10 administrative punishments within the past two and one-half years for various reasons including safety deficiencies, reports said.

The fatal explosion occurred at about 4:40 pm on a highway near Liangshan village of Daxi county, Wenling on Saturday. The truck, headed from Ningbo to Wenzhou, exploded and hit a nearby factory, which caused a secondary explosion. The incident damaged houses along the highway, according to a release from the local transportation management bureau on Saturday. 

The incident drew wide public attention, not just because of the tragic explosion scenes, but also because of concern over the transportation safety of dangerous goods. 

 "We heard an enormous sound and felt a strong vibration, so we all ran out of the house. There I saw thick smoke to the north, just like a mushroom cloud, and then came another two blasts," Li Feige, a restaurant owner in Liangshan village, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Li's restaurant was not damaged by the blast, but the building in front of it was hit by the shockwave from the explosion, with some windows shattered. 

As of press time, 19 people had died and 172 people had been injured - 24 of them were in severe condition, according to a release the publicity department of Wenling sent to the Global Times. 

Further, 634 residents were affected by the incident and relocated to 13 sites where medical teams and psychological professionals could offer them help, according to the publicity department of Wenling. 

The Work Safety Committee of the State Council said on Sunday that it would supervise the investigation into the incident. It urged further strengthening of safety supervision and intensifying law enforcement for the transportation of chemical goods and other vehicles with high safety risks, such as heavy duty trucks and passenger buses. reported on Sunday that according to public online data, the company that owns the truck had been involved in lawsuits for traffic accidents. 

It also received 10 administrative punishments in the past two and one-half years for various reasons, including recruiting unqualified employees and failing to implement safety management. 

Ma Tingguang, an associate professor of safety engineering who specializes in fire engineering at the School of Urban Construction and Safety Engineering in Shanghai University of Applied Technology, told the Global Times on Sunday that the explosion might have resulted from a mixture of air and LPG that evaporated into steamshortly after it leaked. 

Such a mixture would result in a strong reaction and lead to a strong blast, he said, noting that the LPG leak alone might not necessarily lead to an explosion, so further investigations would be required.

After the explosion, the truck was broken apart with its front extremely damaged. The driver and another person in the truck are still missing. 

"Though such an accident results from a combination of many factors, the very first and most important thing is to ensure the technical safety of vehicles carrying dangerous goods," said Ma.  

The local government conducted real-time monitoring of the air and water at the site and took measures to prevent any pollution. No obvious pollution has been detected so far, according to the publicity department of Wenling.
Newspaper headline: Tanker blast kills 19 in E.China

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