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Families demand answers on China blaze

Protests outside poultry factory after country's worst fire in more than a decade killed at least 120 people.

Last Modified: 04 Jun 2013 19:17
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Hundreds of people have demonstrated outside a poultry slaughterhouse in northeast China where a fire killed at least 120 people.

Protesters blocked traffic and battled with police as workers' families said their loved ones could not escape the blaze at the Baoyuanfeng factory on Monday because exits were locked.

The Xinhua news agency reported it was China's deadliest blaze in more than a decade, killing 120 people and injuring 70 others. 

It was time for my daughter to leave work, but the door was locked, so they were all burnt to death. The government isn't giving us an explanation. We're not moving until they give us an explanation.

Yang Xiuya, protester

One protester whose daughter died in the fire said she would not move from the area until she had answers for what had happened.

"It was time for my daughter to leave work, but the door was locked, so they were all burnt to death. The government isn't giving us an explanation. We're not moving until they give us an explanation," Yang Xiuya said.

Another family member screamed at a line of dozens of police, and then tried to attack officers as he was pulled back by other protesters.  

"Today is already the second day. We can't see our family members and there's no information. We can't see the survivors or the bodies of the dead." 

The fire broke out just after dawn at the factory near Dehui in Jilin province, when more than 300 workers were inside. The factory gate was locked, Xinhua reported, and the complex layout of the building made rescue work difficult.

The provincial government said it sent more than 500 firefighters and more than 270 doctors and nurses to the scene. It also evacuated the homes of 3,000 nearby residents as a precaution.

Police said ammonia gas leaks may have caused the explosions.

The high death toll prompted President Xi Jinping, on a visit to Latin America and the United States, to issue instructions to care for the injured and investigate the cause of the disaster.

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