At least five people were killed and one injured in an explosion Monday morning that devastated an industrial park in east central China.
The blast ripped through Tianmen Chutian Fine Chemicals Company, a pharmaceutical plant in Tianmen, near Wuhan, at about 5:15 a.m., local media reports. Officials attributed the explosion to a plate and frame press being tested.
Thick yellow smoke rose from the plant after the blast, indicating a release of nitric acid. Meanwhile, locals mounted a search and rescue operation to find victims trapped beneath the wreckage.
Residents have complained to officials about gas releases from the plant that caused health issues. The plant was fined in April for illegally dumping wastewater.
Hubei province was also the location of a chemical plant explosion in August that killed six workers.