SHANGHAI (AFP) – At least one person was killed in a large fire at a Shanghai chemical plant that shot clouds of smoke across the city on Saturday (June 18), state media reported.
The fire at a Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical plant in outlying Jinshan district broke out around 4am, but was brought under control later that morning, according to state news agency Xinhua.
“The fire at the scene has been effectively brought under control, and protective burning is currently being carried out,” Xinhua reported. “According to our initial understanding, the fire has already caused one death.”
The fire erupted as Shanghai, China’s industrial engine and most populous city, gingerly resumes business after being sealed off for around two months to counter a Coronavirus outbreak driven by the Omicron variant.
While the lockdown was officially lifted at the beginning of June, the snarling of supply chains and shutting of factories continues to have far-reaching consequences for the global economy.
At the petrochemical plant, an early morning explosion was heard by residents as far as 6km away, according to local media.
Videos on social media showed a large cloud of fire and ash billowing upwards.
In one aerial video, three fires could be seen in separate buildings.
The Shanghai fire department said on Weibo that it had dispatched over 500 personnel immediately after the incident around 4.28am.
The Ministry of Emergency Management has dispatched an expert group to the scene, CCTV reported. Reports have not stated a possible cause of the fire.