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30,000 evacuated in China chemical plant fire

BEIJING: Almost 30,000 people living near a Chinese chemical plant where a huge fire blazed for a total of nearly 50 hours were evacuated before the flames were finally extinguished Thursday, media said.

The fire at the factory producing paraxylene — a chemical commonly known as PX and used to make fabric — began on Monday evening, with explosions rocking the building in Zhangzhou.

The fire was first put out on Tuesday night, but two storage tanks ignited again on Wednesday, the official news agency Xinhua reported.

“A total of 29,096 people have been evacuated from the surrounding area,” Xinhua news agency said late Wednesday, adding in a separate dispatch Thursday that the fire had “finally been put out” in the early hours.

Six people were injured at the factory in the eastern province of Fujian, the agency said, in its second accident in two years.

Firefighters battle a blaze following an explosion at a plant producing paraxylene

Television footage earlier this week showed flames billowing into the air as more than 800 firefighters battled to control the blaze.

Proposals for plants producing PX, a flammable and carcinogenic liquid used in the production of polyester films and fabrics, have sparked large protests in several Chinese cities in recent years over perceived health risks.

More than 800 firefighters battled for almost 24 hours to put out a vast fire at a controversial chemical plant in the Chinese city of Zhangzhou

The Zhangzhou PX plant was originally slated to be built in the nearby coastal city of Xiamen, but was moved to its present site after thousands took part in a protest in 2007. -AFP

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