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September 24, 2011

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Fire sweeps through refinery

FIRE swept through an oil refinery in Shanghai's key chemical industry zone in Pudong's Gaoqiao area late last night. No casualties was reported.

The blaze was spotted at about 10:27pm in a tower inside the Gaoqiao oil refinery, which is affiliated to the Sinopec Shanghai Gaoqiao Petrochemical Corp.

Witnesses said they saw flames soon after a loud explosion. Some residents near the factory said the smell was pungent and smoke rose high into the air.

The fire raged for about an hour before it was brought under control, city police said. Dozens of fire engines rushed to the scene and the area was cordoned off.

The fire might have begun in a coking unit, according to a refinery spokesman.

The city's work safety bureau has begun an investigation into the cause of the incident.

The same factory was the scene of a serious fire and explosion in October last year, when seven workers were injured.

Last night's fire follows a series of fire and toxic gas leak accidents in Gaoqiao.

Sinopec Shanghai was fined 200,000 yuan (US$31,308) for causing a gas leak in March that affected many parts of the city.


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