Death toll from fire at poultry processing plant in China's northern province of Jilin now at 119; cause still not known

BEIJING , June 3, 2013 () – The death toll from a fire at a poultry processing plant in the northern province of Jilin stands at 119, China's official Xinhua news agency said Monday, citing local authorities.

Xinhua emphasized that as of midday on Monday the fire was not yet extinguished, and thus the exact number of people remaining inside the plant was not known.

When the fire broke out, more than 300 people were working inside the plant, but about 100 managed to escape despite the fact that the door was locked.

The fire broke out at 6:06 a.m. at a poultry slaughterhouse belonging to the firm Jilin Baoyuanfeng in Mishazi, 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Changchun, the provincial capital, firefighters said.

In addition, rescue personnel added that the prefabricated building's interior structure and its narrow doorways were making rescue efforts very difficult.

An investigation is under way into the cause of the fire, but the only thing that is known for certain at present is that workers heard an explosion and saw black smoke coming from the area of the blast.

Founded in September 2009, Jilin Baoyuanfeng has 1,200 employees and produces 67,000 tons of poultry products annually. EFE

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(c) 2013 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.

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