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Explosion at Japanese chemical plant kills 5, more than 10 injured

Local press members gather at an entrance to Mitsubishi Materials Corp.'s chemical factory following an explosion in Yokkaichi, central Japan, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2013. The explosion at the factory on Thursday killed scores of workers and injured many others, authorities said. Investigators suspect chemical reaction involving hydrogen caused the blast at the plant. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
January 09, 2014 - 12:04 AM

TOKYO - Authorities and news reports say an explosion at a chemical factory in central Japan has killed at least five people and injured more than 10 others.

Police say the explosion occurred at Japanese metal and chemical company Mitsubishi Materials Corp.'s Yokkaichi plant Thursday afternoon during maintenance.

Fire department officials say 17 people injured from the blast were taken to nearby hospitals. Police say two were dead, while Japanese media including Kyodo News agency put the death toll at five. Conditions of the injured were not immediately known.

Mie prefectural police say investigators suspect a hydrogen explosion caused by chemical reaction when plant workers were rinsing heat exchange equipment at a silicone plant on the complex in Yokkaichi City, about 350 kilometres (220 miles) west of Tokyo.

News from © The Associated Press, 2014
The Associated Press

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