updated 7/7/2006 5:25:41 AM ET 2006-07-07T09:25:41

A fire ignited explosives at a home in northern China on Friday, killing at least 47 people, many of them neighbors who had rushed to the scene to battle the flames, a government news agency said.

Another 20 people were injured in the explosion at 6:30 a.m. in Dongzhai, a village in the coal-mining province of Shanxi, Xinhua News Agency said.

“The villager’s home was blasted into rubble,” Xinhua said. “Windows of adjacent houses were broken.”

More than 200 firefighters, police and rescue workers were clearing debris, it said.

The report did not give details on the amount of explosives stored in the home or how the fire started.

Shanxi is home to many unlicensed workshops that make explosives for mining. The explosives are often improperly stored in private homes.

“Many fellow villagers rushed to help extinguish the fire,” Xinhua said. “Suddenly, the bungalow ... exploded."

In April, 31 people were killed when a two-ton cache of explosives blew up at a hospital in Shanxi. A hospital administrator who moonlighted as a coal mine manager admitted storing the explosives at the hospital.

Last month, 10 people were reported killed in another village in Shanxi when a blast ripped through a building where dynamite was being made illegally.

In February, explosives stored in a house blew up, killing six people, again in Shanxi.

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