Fire at Chinese industrial wholesaler kills 38, injures two

A major fire at a company that trades in chemicals and other industrial goods in central China’s Henan province has killed 38 people.

Two other people were injured, the local government of part of Anyang city said in a statement on Tuesday.

The fire was reported around 4:30 p.m. Monday and it took firefighters about 3 1/2 hours to bring it under control, the Wenfang county government said.

Video footage from state broadcaster CCTV showed flames and smoke pouring from what appeared to be a two-story building engulfed in fire. In nighttime footage, firefighters used an extension ladder and searchlights to examine the structure’s scarred skeletal remains.

No word was said about the cause of the fire or how so many employees were killed, although China has a history of work-related accidents caused by lax attention to safety measures, fueled by increased competition and abetted by corruption among officials. Poor storage conditions, closed exits and missing fire extinguishers are often cited as direct causes.

Rescuers use a bulldozer to knock down a wall at a fire at an industrial wholesaler in Anyang, central China's Henan Province, November 21, 2022.
Rescuers level a wall during a fire at the wholesaler’s.

Online listings for the company Kaixinda indicated that it was a wholesaler dealing in a wide range of manufactured goods, including so-called specialty chemicals.

A massive explosion at a chemical warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin in 2015 killed 173 people, most of them firefighters and police officers. The chemicals were found to have been misregistered and stockpiled, with local officials complicit in turning a blind eye to the potential threat.

Rescue workers use a ladder to climb into the remains of an industrial wholesaler in Anyang, central China's Henan Province, Nov. 21, 2022.
It took firefighters 3.5 hours to get the fire under control.

According to the statement, more than 200 search and rescue personnel and 60 firefighters were involved in the blaze in Henan.

The densely populated and economically vital province has seen a series of deadly incidents that have led to the arrests of local officials.

Five were arrested after a building collapsed on the outskirts of the provincial capital Changsha in April, killing 53 people. Fire at Chinese industrial wholesaler kills 38, injures two


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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