Blaze at poultry abattoir kills 119
AT LEAST 119 people have died after fire swept through a poultry slaughterhouse in north-east China.
Up to 350 workers were in the building in Dehui city in the province of Jilin when the fire broke out. No more than 100 managed to escape, according to reports, suggesting that the death toll could rise further.
Early reports suggested that nearly all of the slaughterhouse's doors had been locked, leaving dozens trapped inside.
An electrical spark has been blamed for the fire at the slaughterhouse, which employs about 1,200 people.
Witnesses told of panic as desperate workers stampeded to escape the flames.
"The fire took only three minutes to burn through the entire workshop," one witness told the 'Southern Metropolis' newspaper.
Wang Fengya (44), one of more than 50 survivors who suffered burns, said: "Someone shouted 'run away!' Suddenly, the lights went out. When I finally ran out and looked back at the plant, I saw high flames."
Many of those admitted to a local hospital were suffering from respiratory problems after inhaling "poisonous gases".
Weeping family members of victims were at the scene of the disaster yesterday and were demanding an immediate government investigation, Chinese media reported. (© Daily Telegraph, London)