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Death toll hits 120 in deadly China chicken plant fire

90% of victims women; 17 are unaccounted for in worst industrial accident.


June 5, 2013
by ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEIJING — Authorities have raised the death toll by one to 120 in this week’s disastrous fire at a northeast China poultry processing plant.

The State Administration of Work Safety said 17 of the 395 people at work during June 3 tragedy remain unaccounted for.

State media reports say about 90% of the victims were women recruited from nearby farming villages to work part time at the sprawling Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry Co. plant.

Workers said all but one of the plant’s exits were locked at the time of the fire, in clear violation of Chinese laws and safety regulations. Authorities have detained the plant’s owner and managers and a special commission appointed by China’s Cabinet is investigating the fire, the country’s worst industrial accident in almost five years.