Explosives stored at a coal mine manager’s house blew up in a town in northern China, killing him and at least 10 other people, including two students at a nearby grade school, news reports and police said Thursday.
Police denied newspaper reports that as many as 20 children were killed when the school collapsed after the blast Wednesday in Kecheng, a town in Shanxi province, a major coal-mining region.
The official Xinhua News Agency put the death toll at 11 and said it included two students and a teacher at the school.
The mine manager, Lu Maolin, was killed, along with several family members, according to an officer reached by phone at the county police station who would give only his surname, Li. He said several people were killed when a nearby clinic collapsed.
“We are investigating the cause of the explosion,” Li said.
He denied a report by the newspaper Shanxi Commercial News that a school adjacent to Lu’s house collapsed, killing 20 students. He said that building was still standing.
China’s coal mining industry is the world’s deadliest, with thousands of deaths reported every year despite a marathon government safety crackdown.
The country also suffers hundreds of deaths a year from the mishandling of explosives used for mining, construction and fireworks manufacturing.