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13 killed in China factory blast

world Updated: Feb 29, 2012 08:17 IST

At least 13 people were killed and 43 injured on Tuesday after an explosion ripped through a chemical plant in north China's Hebei province, police said.

The explosion took place around 9.30 am at the Hebei Keeperchemical Industries Co. Ltd. in Zhaoxian county, an official told Xinhua.

An earlier report said the explosion occurred at the Kaer Chemical Plant.

According to witnesses, the blast flattened one of the factory's workshops and broke window panes within a radius of 2,000 metres.

Tremors were felt in at least three villages near the plant.

The plant manufactures pesticides such as guanidine nitrate. But there was no risk of contamination from the blast, the official said.

Most of the employees of the plant were middle-aged "married" men, villagers said.

Authorities said a fire had erupted at the plant in in 2011 but there were no casualties.