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A fire roared through a carrot packaging plant in eastern China, killing 18 people and injuring at least 13 others, according to official state media, which said Monday that unidentified company executives were in custody. The fire broke out about 7 p.m. Sunday (6 a.m. ET) at the Longyuan Food Co. plant in Shouguang in Shandong province, the official state news agency Xinhua reported Monday morning. It was out within two-and-a-half hours, Xinhua said.
About 200 people work at the Longyuan facility, Xinhua said. In addition to the 13 people who were injured — all of them listed as stable at a local hospital — four more remained unaccounted for, Xinhua said. An unspecified number of company managers were in custody being questioned by police, official state broadcaster China Central Television reported. Video and photos in local media showed a large flattened building and crates of charred carrots on the site. Longyuan Food Co., founded in 1998, packages about 50,000 tons of produce annually in the 50,000-square-foot facility, according to its website and Xinhua.
— M. Alex Johnson