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123 Held Accountable for Fatal Tianjin Blast
   2016-02-06 07:28:53    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Xie Cheng

An aerial view of the devastation by the massive explosions at the blast site in Binhai New Area in Tianjin, China, on August 17, 2015. [Photo: Imagine China]

123 people have been held accountable for the deadly warehouse explosions in Tianjin last August.

Previously 49 others have also been put under coercive measures which may include summons by force, residential surveillance or detention.

CRI's Xie Cheng has more.


According to a report released on Friday by an investigatory team from the State Council, China's Cabinet, the disaster was identified as "an extraordinarily serious production safety accident".

The team has concluded after 5 months of investigation that the blast was caused by ignition of hazardous materials which were improperly or illegally stored at the site.

It said that the fire started in a container through auto-ignition of nitro-cotton due to vaporization of a wetting agent during hot weather.

The fire then spread and ignited other hazardous chemicals and eventually resulted in the serious explosion.

Du Lanping, head of the investigatory team's technical group, believes that the 800-ton of illegally-stored ammonium nitrate could be regarded as the tragedy's culprit.

"Such a hazardous chemical is banned from being stored at the depot. The fire fighters were not aware of the ammonium nitrate excessively stored at the site, since the staff at the scene did not inform them. The commander of the fire fighters was not able to evaluate the dangerous situation accurately."

Li Wanchun, head of the team's management group, said that some appraisal firms resorted to deception while making safety and environmental evaluations.

"Although the site is not qualified enough for safety manufacturing, the safety assessment reached a conclusion approving the enterprises' manufacturing. The site's firefighting equipment also passed the acceptance test without any scrutinization."

The report has suggested that 74 officials be subject to Communist Party of China disciplinary procedures, and that 48 be admonished by their local discipline inspection commissions.

It also recommends that the license of the warehouse's owner, Tianjin Ruihai International Logistics, should be revoked and company executives be banned from any other executive posts in the sector.

Meantime, authorities are still dealing with underground water and soil pollution in the blast's core zone since many of the chemicals are toxic.

Yan Jingjun, head of the team's environmental group, explained what steps the Tianjin municipal government will carry out.

"The municipal government will continue to carry out environmental evaluations, and it has also started tracking health conditions of the residents sheltering in the affected areas, workers engaged in the rescue effort, as well as those who have received treatment in hospitals."

Two explosions ripped through the Ruihai Logistics' warehouse in Tianjin Port on August 12, killing 165 people including 99 fire fighters.

Another eight people are still unaccounted for.

Over 300 buildings, 12 thousand cars, and some 75-hundered containers were also damaged.

For CRI, I'm Xie Cheng.



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