An official investigation into a September 2019 packaging plant fire in eastern China that killed 19 people has found that static electricity ignited a heated isoparaffin mixture being prepared by a worker.
The investigation, reported in the China Press website, also cites personnel at Ruiqi Commodity Company in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, for failure to use fire extinguishers in the earliest stages of the September 29th fire.
The fire destroyed more than 1,100 square meters of factory floor space. Firefighters rescued eight people, three of them requiring hospitalization.
Investigators believe that an electrostatic discharge ignited flammable vapor from the mixture when the worker poured it into a plastic bucket. Surveillance video shows that fire extinguishers were nearby but the worker first tried to blow out the small but growing flames, first using his breath and then fanning the fire with his hands.
The financial loss from the fire exceeded $2.8 million.
Two people were prosecuted following the fire with another 21 “punished by party discipline and government affairs.”