Three children were among at least 30 people killed Friday in an explosion followed by a fire at a house that was being used as a factory for making disposable butane lighters in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province, police said.
The blast was believed to be caused by a gas canister in the factory, said Riadil Akhir Lubis, head of the provincial civil protection agency. Photographs distributed by the agency showed bodies burned beyond recognition as well as the blackened remains of the house located in Sambi Rejo village.
“So far 30 people have died. Everyone inside died,” Riadil told BenarNews, adding that the victims were mostly women. The children who died were not believed to be workers.
“According to locals, the children came with their parents who were working at the factory,” Riadil said.
Indonesia has seen similar deadly fires in the past. In 2017, at least 47 were killed in an explosion and fire at a firecracker factory on the outskirts of Jakarta.
As of late Friday, the flames had been extinguished and the victims had been taken to a police hospital in the provincial capital Medan for formal identification, according to officials.
Riadil said officials were trying to determine the employment status of the workers.
“Whether the factory is legal or not, we don’t know and there are questions about the presence of children there,” he said.
A wire service reported that three or four people were able to escape the fire, which began around noon, but Riadil said those people were not in the factory at the time.
Full story: BenarNews
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