Hanoi — An explosion from a fireworks factory in a military complex in northern Vietnam has killed 21 people and injured 98 others, say military officials.
Witnesses say fireworks exploded uncontrollably for several hours as plumes of black smoke rose from the Z121 military facility located some 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Hanoi, according to a Channel NewsAsia report.
“The first blast was at 7:55am — and then there were continuous explosions for some hours,” Phi Xuan Trung, chairman of the local Khai Xuan commune, told the VNExpress news site.
“There was a strong smell of gunpowder, the ground was shaking many kilometres away,” he added.
Some 2,000 people have been evacuated, as loudspeakers urged those within 15 kilometers of the complex to leave the area.
“The fire has now been brought under control,” a police official told AFP, adding that an investigation into the cause of the accident had been opened.
Residents near the facility also said the ground was shaking during the repeated explosions. One eyewitness told VNEpress, “After the first explosion, my house was shaking and the door smashed open”.
One local resident said, “We have received warnings from authorities that there could be further explosions which could be very destructive”. Image/AFP