TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Two explosions tore through a fireworks factory on the outskirts of Indonesia’s capital on Thursday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens.
It was one of Indonesia’s worst industrial disasters and is likely to cast a new spotlight on lax safety standards in the Southeast Asian country.
Workers had no time to escape from the plant in Tangerang, an industrial and manufacturing hub to the west of Jakarta, after the explosions that one neighbor described as a “roar” that could be heard miles away.
“People were burned so badly you couldn’t see their faces ... It was really bad,” said search and rescue official Deden Nurjaman, who expected the death toll to climb as more bodies were found inside the factory.
Fireworks are frequently used in Indonesia for religious and other celebrations, and are widely available.
There have been a series of major fires in Indonesia this year, including one that engulfed one of Jakarta’s main markets.
Thick, dark plumes of smoke billowed from the factory through the afternoon as an inferno took hold. As night fell, the PT Panca Buana Cahaya Sukses warehouse was still smoldering and there was a stench of chemicals and burning plastic.
Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono told Metro Television that 47 bodies had been discovered, 46 people were injured and 10 people were unaccounted for. He said the missing might have left with light injuries or not have been working at the time.
One of the first policemen on the scene, Raymond Masengi, told Metro TV that he and other officers had to smash holes in the factory wall to help the injured escape.