Fatal blaze payout plan being drafted
Updated: 2013-06-07 07:10
By He Na and Han Junhong in Dehui, Jilin (China Daily)
Officials from the health, environmental protection and fire departments of Changchun, Jilin province, mourn the victims of the deadly blast and fire that killed at least 120 people at a slaughterhouse in Dehui, Jilin province. Wang Jing / China Daily
Dehui officials say compensation amounts to be 'fair and transparent'
Work will start soon on drawing up compensation for families of the victims of Monday's fire at a slaughterhouse in Jilin province that claimed at least 120 lives and injured 77.
"The draft compensation plan has already been handed in to the upper-level of departments involved for approval," said He Zhe, spokesman for Dehui, the township where the slaughterhouse is located.
"Following the principle of fairness and transparency, the compensation standard will treat everyone equally. Once the plan is ready, we will give the money to victims' family members as soon as possible," He said.
The official added that an additional financial aid plan will be worked out for poor families.
The search for victims ended on Thursday and the 17 missing people in the accident have been found, the news office of Jilin provincial government announced on its official micro blog on Thursday night.
However, it did not specify whether they were found dead or alive.
Sources from the State Council investigation team said earlier that 395 workers were in the plant when the fire started.
He said that Baoyuanfeng Poultry Co is the major party responsible for the blaze, and its bank account has been frozen. The firm's chairman, Jia Yushan, and general manager, Zhang Yushen, have been detained.
Lyu Shubo, 50, a worker at the plant who narrowly escaped from the fire after inhaling a large amount of toxic air and who sustained slight burns, said those injured need to be compensated. She is being treated at Dehui Fuyang Hospital.
Xu Hongsheng, her husband, said: "The nightmare is always in her mind, and for two nights she was afraid to close her eyes. Who knows whether the toxic air will cause further damage to her body? People like her need some compensation for mental damage."
The fire started early on Monday, sweeping through two workshops within minutes after a blast triggered by a suspected chemical leak. Of the 77 injured, 15 were severely hurt, and two of these people remain in critical conditions.
Media reports said an ammonia leak caused the blast and fire, but Zhao said the cause can only be determined after the State Council team completes its investigation.
Nearly all the survivors interviewed said exits were blocked at the plant, with doors locked and a lack of fire escapes.
Zhao said a safety inspection campaign has been carried out across Jilin following the tragedy.
The investigation team held its first group meeting on Thursday and said the fire was a serious accident caused by negligence. The team said there were serious safety loopholes at the company along with poor organization on evacuation in emergencies.
The fire was an accident due to negligence of duty by company management and supervising authorities, according to Yang Dongliang, director of the State Administration of Work Safety.
"As the main body of work safety enforcement, the company bears unshirkable responsibility for the accident, while the government is also responsible for its management and supervision duties," said Yang, who also heads the investigation team.
Bayin Chaolu, the Jilin governor, apologized at the meeting, saying the authorities should learn a lesson and strengthen work safety supervision.
Changchun Mayor Jiang Zhiying also apologized and said he will spare no efforts in handling of the aftermath.
The area where the fire started is still guarded by armed police but in reduced numbers. Staff members from the disease control center were disinfecting the area and the local environmental protection department was monitoring air quality.
Ammonia stored at the plant in three large tanks has been moved to Daqing in Heilongjiang province. The removal of another 10 smaller tanks will be finished by Thursday night, the news office with the provincial government said.
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Xinhua contributed to this story.
(China Daily 06/07/2013 page6)