14 killed, nearly 150 injured in blast in China's coal-mining Shaanxi province

Authorities launch a province-wide investigation into the production and storage of explosives.

Blast kills at least 14, injures 147 in northwestern China
Rescue workers search at site after an explosion hit a town in Fugu county, Shaanxi province, China, October 24, 2016. Reuters

At least 14 people died and nearly 150 were injured in China due to an explosion caused by "illegal production and storage of explosives" in a block of pre-fabricated houses on Monday.

The blast that took place in the northwestern town of Xinmin in Shaanxi, a coal-mining province, damaged dozens of buildings, including a hospital. "Three suspects were arrested early Tuesday morning. All three confessed their guilt," Xinhua reported.

The state news agency reported also said the authorities had launched a province-wide investigation into the production and storage of explosives. It added that the explosives were kept in five houses and the police have already taken the owner into custody.

Reports say the exact type of the explosives causing the blast or what their intended use were still not clear. However, explosives are widely used in the industries in Shaanxi province.

This is the latest in a series of industrial accidents in China. Explosions at fireworks factories are also quite common. Reports show that previous blasts were blamed on improperly stored chemicals or industrial explosives.

In 2015, 165 people were killed in a series of powerful blasts at a chemicals warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin. Cases of people deliberately setting off blasts have also been reported in China just to settle grievances such as land disputes.