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An explosion killed at least 69 people and injured more than 120 at factory in China that makes wheels for U.S. carmakers, including General Motors, state media said, as the country suffered its worst industrial accident in a year. Chinese media said that according to government officials the blast in the booming eastern province of Jiangsu occurred around 7:30 a.m. Saturday in Kunshan city. The explosion ripped through a workshop that polishes wheel hubs, according to media reports. Survivors with charred skin were seen being wheeled into ambulances and images on local television showed plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky.
A preliminary investigation suggested that the explosion was caused by negligence after a flame was lighted in a dust-filled room, state news agency Xinhua said, adding that top Communist Party officials from the province were heading to the site. Chinese state television identified the factory as Zhongrong Plating. Several officials from the firm have been since been detained, the government said. State news agency Xinhua said five company representatives were held by authorities. Its website said it employs 450 workers and counts General Motors and other U.S. companies as clients.