As China is gearing to celebrate their Lunar New Year which falls next Sunday, a truck laden with fireworks for the celebration exploded on an elevated expressway in Central China Friday, killing at least nine people when the blast threw at least 25 cars to a distance of 30 meters below the viaduct.
The explosion in the Sanmenxia area of Henan province Friday morning destroyed an 80-meter section of the viaduct and shook homes located more than 400 meters away, according to the Chinese Media.
"Seven people died at the scene of the accident, while two others died on the way to hospital. Of the 11 injured, four are in serious condition," Xinhua News Agency quoted police officials as saying.
Rescue teams were deployed immediately after the blast and explosion of the bridge.
The elevated expressway which opened to traffic in 2001 after three years of construction has four bidirectional lanes. The last test in 2011 revealed that no safety risks had been found, reported Chinese Media.
However, Friday's explosion raised questions about the quality of road constructions in China, reported Xinhua News Agency.
"I just cannot understand how this road was built," questioned an Internet user, Wushifeng 521, on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging service.
"How could fireworks be so powerful? Is the viaduct a shoddy construction work?" asked another user, Langren-088, according to Xinhua News Agency.
During festivals like New Year, fireworks and firecrackers are in high demand in China as Chinese tradition believes that lighting fireworks and firecrackers scare away the evil spirits surrounding their houses.
Following Friday's explosion, the Ministry of Public Security has ordered tougher controls against illegal transport, trade and production of fireworks and firecrackers.
Chinese Media reported that the Communist Party of China has imposed laws in the past to reduce the production, use and transportation of fireworks but those laws have not been abided by.
A fireworks blast in Hebei province Jan. 18 killed three people while injuring 11 others and destroyed a two-storey home where the fireworks were stored.
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