The three individuals have so far only been identified as employees at the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co who are suspected of sharing “major responsibility” for the catastrophic blast on March 21st. Police have yet to describe how the trio are at fault for one of China’s biggest industrial disasters in memory.
The blast ripped through the chemical factory and a number of nearby buildings in the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in Xiangshui county, leaving behind a smoldering mess of iron and rubble. Homes as far as six kilometers away had their windows shattered and China’s earthquake administration registered a 2.2-magnitude tremor in the area.
Hundreds were injured in the explosion with nearly 200 still being treated at local hospitals almost two weeks later.
The exact cause of the blast has not yet been disclosed, but fingers have quickly pointed towards Jiangsu Tianjiayi’s shaky safety record — the company has faced multiple penalties in recent years — as well as local officials for their apparent lack of oversight.
The disaster was China’s most deadly since August 12th, 2015 when a massive chemical blast killed 173 people in the port city of Tianjin. An investigation into that explosion ended with 25 government officials and 24 chemical company executives receiving jail sentences including the company chairman who was given a suspended death sentence, possibly setting a precedent for how punishments will be doled out this time around.