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Fire Kills 119 at China Poultry Plant with Locked Gate

Chinese state media say a fire killed at least 119 people as it swept through a poultry plant in northeastern China, in one of the country's worst industrial blazes in years.

The fire broke out around 6 a.m. Monday local time, when more than 300 workers were inside the poultry processing facility in the Mishazi district of Jilin province.

News reports quoted witnesses and fire officials as saying a chemical leak may have triggered several blasts that started the fire.

State news agency Xinhua said about 100 workers managed to escape, but others were trapped by a locked gate as the fire spread quickly. It was not clear how many workers were unaccounted for.

Xinhua said the complex interior structure of the plant and its narrow exits hampered rescue efforts. More than 500 firefighters were sent to the scene and brought the blaze under control after several hours.

Authorities said 54 survivors were being treated in hospitals. An investigation into the cause of the disaster was under way.



Lax safety standards often contribute to fatal accidents in Chinese factories and mines. A fire at a shopping center in the central city of Luoyang in Henan province killed 309 people in 2000.

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