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13 die in explosion at fireworks factory

THIRTEEN people were confirmed dead and two others badly injured in a fireworks explosion on Saturday afternoon in east China's Shandong Province.

The explosion took place at an unlicensed fireworks processing factory in Yangzhuangzi Village of Qingyun Township, Qingyun County, at 1:30pm. Three rooms owned by villager Yang Ziye were destroyed, according to the Qingyun county government.

The 13 deceased were all workers at the plant - 10 women and three men, aged 27 to 66.

The unlicensed production was organized by Yang Hongyin, from Yangzhuangzi Village, and Wang Qingguo, from Xiaosunzhai Village in Laoling, officials said.

Wang died in the explosion. Police are looking for Yang, who is currently at large.

One woman villager said she heard a loud noise. "Thinking it was an earthquake, by instinct, I ran out of my home," said the woman.

Windows in other houses in the vicinity were smashed, and cracks were also found in some houses.

The villagers said they didn't know Yang had rented his house to another person who had set up the illegal factory.

Two bulldozers were continuing to comb through the debris.

The two injured were rushed to a hospital in Binzhou, a nearby city in Shandong.


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