Fire and explosions kill at least 30 at Iranian chemical factory

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Monday, May 26, 2008

A fire and string of explosions at a chemical factory in Iran have killed at least 30 people. State news agency IRNA says at least 38 more are injured at the facility near Shazand in the industrial province of Markazi.

IRNA reports that a 60,000 litre chemical reservoir exploded to trigger the disaster, which may have been caused by nearby welding work.

23 of the injured people are reported to have sustained burns across 70-100% of their body. It is unclear what was manufactured at the factory, with RTE reporting that it was a pharmaceutical plant, and Agence France-Presse saying the site was used to produce cosmetics and detergent.

Local officials say the property has been almost completely destroyed, but the fire has been brought under control. The fire had rapidly spread from the building of origin to the rest of the complex, leaving roofs caving in and many vehicles burnt out. Some of the dead are charred beyond recognition.