An aluminium alloy factory belonging to China’s Dengfeng Power Group Co Ltd exploded after being submerged by floodwater in central Henan province on Tuesday.
The Dengfeng government revealed in a statement on WeChat that a nearby river exceeded warning levels and collapsed a factory wall at around 4am local time.
The company took precautions and immediately cut off power while evacuating people from the flooded plant, but at 6am the water spread into a high-temperature solution and triggered a blast, the statement said.
Social media videos of the explosion were filmed by locals living in the region. The clips show the sky turning yellow as the explosion causes a large ball of flames to rise up into the air.
After what local officials described as an extensive government inspection, nobody has been reported missing or injured.
“I heard a loud explosion while still in bed this morning. It shook my windows and gave me a huge fright. I thought it couldn’t have been thunder,” a local resident told The Beijing News.
“I wasn’t injured, but all the glass shattered, and my windows and doors broke,” they added.
At least 12 people have died and 100,000 have been evacuated in Zhengzhou city, the capital of Henan province after heavy rains led to large areas of the province being submerged in water.
The rain in the city was estimated by some weather forecasters to be the worst in at least 1,000 years, according to news agency Reuters.
More than 200 millimetres of rain fell in one hour in the city on Tuesday, forcing train operators to halt services. Apart from Zhengzhou’s transport services, schools and hospital services were also badly affected.
Similar scenes of flooding were reported in the streets of at least a dozen other cities, as levels in reservoirs and dams across the province breached warning levels.
China’s military blasted a dam in the late hours of Tuesday to release floodwaters after residents were trapped in the subway system and left stranded at schools, apartments, and offices.