XIANGSHUI, Jiangsu, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Facing the strong flame of the chemical canister, stepping on pieces of broken glass and sharp steel slag, and breathing the billowing toxic smoke, nearly 1,000 firefighters raced against the clock to save the injured people after a deadly blast hit a chemical plant in east China's Jiangsu Province.
The explosion happened at about 2:48 p.m. Thursday following a fire that broke out in a plant owned by Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co. Ltd., in a chemical industrial park in Xiangshui County in Yancheng.
The blast ripped through the buildings in the chemical plant and windows and doors several miles away have been shattered into pieces. It is a race against time.
FIGHT WITH COURAGE AND DETERMINATION
"The blast hit an industrial park where 16 chemical plants and a sewage treatment plant stand," said Lu Jun, deputy commander in charge of the rescue. "The worst of all, a number of workers are on duty when the blast occurred."
At 2:58 p.m. Thursday, Zhao Yi, squadron commander of Xiangshui's fire brigade, instantly summoned his team and rushed to the scene upon learning the explosion.
It was complete chaos with people everywhere, Zhao recalled. But Zhao and the other firefighters have to go toward the fire and the thick smoke to rescue as many as possible, as fast as possible.
A number of fire brigades in cities near the Xiangshui County also joined the rescue upon receiving the alert.
It took a whole night of hard effort to put off the the fire in the industrial park. At the early morning hours of Friday, firefighters began to search the trapped workers and residents albeit a sleepless night.
FIGHT SMARTER AGAINGST SECONDARY DISASTER
"The explosion of a large number of chemical products made the rescue more difficult than ever," said Lu. "We must pay extra attention to prevent the secondary disasters and act scientifically."
For example, the rescue team from Changzhou city was capable of using maps and live videos to offer evidence for further decision-making and analyze the cause of the incident before reaching the scene.
Luo Huaxin, a commander with Changzhou's fire brigade, found two benzene tanks and a methanol tank on fire near the explosion point. "There will be serious consequences if the flames burst out," said Luo.
In response, Luo's team made several plans to control the fire based on different chemical materials. Film-forming foam was used to put off the fire of a benzene tank and non-fusibility foam was used for the methanol tank, Luo said.
"The explosion might cause unpredictable consequences, so we send various devices to detect the situation before firefighters began their search," Luo added.
During the rescue, life detectors, thermal cameras and GDS devices are widely used to help locate the trapped workers and residents.