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China Chemical Plant Blast Death Toll Rises to 20


Chinese state media say the death toll from Tuesday's explosions at a chemical plant in southern China has risen to 20 people.

The official Xinhua news agency also says about 60 other people were injured when a series of explosions ripped through the plant in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The head of a local toxic emergency center, Ge Xianmin, told Xinhua Wednesday that poisonous gases - mainly sulfurated hydrogen and carbon monoxide - are still being released from the site.

On Tuesday, authorities evacuated more than 11,000 people from within three kilometers of the Yizhou city plant.

Ge tells Xinhua that residents within one kilometer of the site should be safe, but that rescue workers still need to wear masks.

The cause of the blast is still not known.

The plant is owned by Guangxi Guangwei Chemical Company. It produces chemicals for adhesives and paints.

On Tuesday, it took firefighters more that seven hours to contain the blaze. Xinhua says firefighters were hindered by continuing explosions and the danger of chemical leaks.

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