A fire at a poultry processing plant in China has killed at least 112 people, officials say.

The fire broke out at a slaughterhouse in Dehui in Jilin province early on Monday, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.

The fire is now said to have been mostly put out and bodies are being recovered.

There are reports that the fire took hold following three explosions in an electrical system.

It is China?s most deadly fire since 2000, when 309 people died in a fire in a dance hall in Luoyang, Henan province.

About 100 workers had managed to escape from the Baoyuan plant, Xinhua said, adding that the ?complicated interior structure? of the building and narrow exits had made rescue work more difficult.

It said the plant?s front gate had been locked when the blaze began.

The number of workers trapped inside the plant had yet to be confirmed, the agency added.

Dozens of injured have been sent to hospital, but the severity of their injuries remains unclear.

Photographs posted on Chinese news websites showed thick smoke coming from the large cement and corrugated iron sheds, with fire engines still at the scene.

Panic

Workers interviewed by state broadcaster CCTV said the fire broke out at about 06:00 (22:00 Sunday GMT) during a shift change and may have started in a locker room.

The lights went out, triggering panic as workers rushed to find an exit, 44-year-old Wang Fengya told Xinhua.

?When I finally ran out and looked back at the plant, I saw high flames,? Ms Wang was quoted as saying. Xinhua said she and three other workers were sent to hospital in the nearby provincial capital of Changchun.

Some sources including the provincial fire department suggest there may have been an ammonia leak, while others point to an electric spark in the plant.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is under way, Xinhua said.

The company that owns the farm, Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry Co, employs some 1,200 people and produces some 67,000 tonnes of chicken products every year. The plant is located around 800km (500 miles) north-east of Beijing.

Workplace safety standards can often be poor in China, with fatal accidents regularly reported at large factories and mines, says the BBC?s John Sudworth in Shanghai.

Those lax standards are variously linked to corruption, the prioritisation of efficient production over worker safety in building design, and poor enforcement of safety rules.

Source-BBC

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