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Explosion and fire erupt at Chinese oil refinery

A fire erupted and set off an explosion at an oil refinery on in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing in Jiangsu province on Sunday afternoon, according to the city’s fire department.

The explosion occurred at about 1.51pm at a plant in Qixia district owned by China Petrochemical subsidiary Jinling Petrochemical.

The company said on its official WeChat account that the incident did not cause any injuries, or trigger any other environmental damage.

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But Jiangsu Radio reported there was “a pungent smell” in the air.

Photos posted on social media websites showed black smoke rising from the plant and witnesses said they heard two huge blasts.

In 2008, residents raised concerns about safety risks from the oil refinery and an associated plant producing paraxylene, a chemical used to make plastic bottles and polyester clothing.

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Qixia district, in northern Nanjing, is home to at least 10 universities and colleges.

Greenpeace East Asia said that between January and August, China reported 232 chemical-related incidents, killing 199 people and injuring 400 others.