Fireworks Plant Blast Caused By Smoker

TUESDAY, JAN. 20, 1998

A cigarette smoker who lit up in a small fireworks factory set off an explosion that killed 17 people, three of them children, Chinese media reported Monday.

The owner of the illegally run factory and his family were among those killed in the Jan. 11 blast in Susong, eastern Anhui province, the state-run Liberation Daily newspaper said.

Investigators determined that the smoker’s lighter touched off flammable materials stacked in the four-room factory, the newspaper said.

Each year, scores of people die in explosions in small Chinese factories, often operated out of private homes without any official authorization or regard for safety precautions.

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