4 dead, 97 injured in blast at Turkish fireworks factory

International

Smoke billows from a fire following an explosion at a fireworks factory outside the town of Hendek, Sakarya province, northwestern Turkey, Friday July 3, 2020. There were an estimated 150 workers at the factory, Gov. Cetin Oktay Kaldirim told state-run Anadolu Agency. Several firefighters and ambulances were sent to the factory, which is away from residential areas, but explosions continued to hamper efforts to bring the fire under control. The cause of the blast wasn’t immediately known. (IHA via AP)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An explosion at a fireworks factory in northwestern Turkey on Friday killed four people and injured 97 others, officials said. At least three people were reported missing.

There were 186 workers at the factory outside the town of Hendek, in Sakarya province, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters.

Koca, who traveled to the area along with two other ministers, said the explosion killed four workers while 97 others were hospitalized. Close to 40 of the injured were later discharged, he said, adding that of the remaining workers, just one was in critical condition.

At least three people remain unaccounted for, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters, without saying whether they were feared dead.

The cause of the blast at the factory, which is away from residential areas, was under investigation.

Two helicopters and a plane were sent to the area to assist firefighters teams, whose efforts were hampered by continuing explosions. The blaze was brought under control several hours later, officials said.

Koca said 85 ambulances, two air ambulances and 11 rescue teams were sent to the area.

Earlier, television video showed a large, mushroom-shaped cloud of smoke rising from the factory.

HaberTurk television said authorities blocked roads leading to the factory. Families rushed to the site for news of their loved ones.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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