NOBULL: Poultry plant fire in China kills at least 119, authorities say

Poultry plant fire in China kills at least 119, authorities say

By Chris Scott on 6/3/2013

Authorities in China are investigating the cause of a fire in a poultry processing plant in the northeast province of Jilin Monday that killed at least 119 people, according to the Xinhua official news agency and provincial government reports.

An estimated 100 workers were able to escape the Baoyuanfeng Poultry Plant, although workers told officials that some of the exits were either blocked or locked. Fire officials believe the blaze could have been caused by an ammonia leak that may have made it more difficult to fight the fire, said the China News Service.

The provincial government said more than 500 firefighters battled the blaze and nearly 300 doctors and nurses were on the scene of the early-morning incident.

The death toll may rise as firefighters continue to recover bodies from inside the four-year-old facility, even as dozens of people are being treated for unspecified injuries in local hospitals, noted Xinhua. The plant has more than 1,200 employees and more than 300 people were inside at the time of the incident, according to survivors who spoke with Xinhua.

The incident is the deadliest fire in China since 2000, when flames in a dance hall in Henan province killed 309 people.