The death toll from the explosion at the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical plant on March 21 rose to 78 and 600 others have been injured. This makes the incident the deadliest industrial accident in China since the 2015 explosions in Tianjin, which claimed 173 lives.
According to the South China Morning Post, police have detained Tianjiayi Chemical’s key executives. Wang Jiangyu, an associate professor from the National University of Singapore’s law faculty, said: “Looking at the severity, heads will also roll among the government officials who were in charge.”
An investigation team from the State Council, China’s cabinet, made a preliminary conclusion on the nature of the accident on Saturday, blaming local officials who “are ignorant of their work” for allowing the company to continue its operations despite multiple safety violations, the article reported.
Sources speculate that this incident will lead to jail terms and disciplinary actions for high-level executives and officials as it did for key players involved in the process-safety breakdown at Tianjin in 2015 (see: Ruihai Exec Receives Suspended Death Sentence For Tianjin Warehouse Explosion).
In addition to the human toll, the blast is impacting daily life in the surrounding areas and causing harm to the environment.