Six dead after huge blast at chemical factory ‘triggers earthquake’

At least six people are dead and 30 are injured after a massive explosion rocked a chemical plant and apparently triggered a small earthquake.

Footage shows a huge fireball erupting from the pesticide factory – sending a mushroom cloud into the air – and scenes of carnage in the aftermath with bloodied bodies and debris on a pavement.

The enormous blast shook homes at least 25 miles away, and a 3.0 magnitude earthquake in Jiangsu Province is suspected to have been caused by the explosion.

The blast shattered the windows of nearby homes, at least one school and businesses in Yancheng in eastern China.

Many people were injured by flying shards of glass, and video shows parents cradling children who had cuts to their faces.

Almost 200 firefighters were involved in the response after the explosion happened at the Tianjiayi Chemical factory around 2.45pm local time on Thursday.

Thirty-one people had been rescued from the site within the first few hours, the local authority said.

The explosive substance was benzene, local media reported.

A huge plume of smoke billowed into the air and was visible for miles as the emergency services raced to extinguish the inferno and rescue the injured from the site in an industrial park.

Residents told how the explosion shook their homes – some as far away as 25 miles.

A witness told Chinese media: "At the time of the explosion, it was almost like an earthquake.

 "It was very loud."

A man who lives 18 miles from the blast site told a reporter that the explosion shook his windows.

The man said: "It was thought to be caused by wind."

A woman who lives about a mile from the explosion told the South China Morning Post that all her windows were shattered by the blast.

She said the local hospital was packed with injured people.

Another resident about 25 miles from the factory said she heard a loud boom and felt the explosion at her home.

Photos taken in the aftermath show injured workers walking away from the factory with assistance, and neighbouring buildings with all or most of their windows blown out.

Police have advised nearby homes, schools and businesses to keep their windows and doors shut.

The local government said it activated its emergency plan after the blast.

The cause of the explosion has not been revealed.

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