Chinese officials are investigating a fire at a poultry plant that left 119 people dead and numerous others injured. The cause of fire, officials believe, was an ammonia leak, but investigators want to know why so many people were trapped inside.
"I'm sure they consider some aspects of safety design," Jason Yan, technical director of the U.S. Grains Council, told the Associated Press. "However, I think safety, to me, is not the first priority in their design plan."
Many of the survivors recalled a terrifying ordeal in which only one door was open, providing an escape route, while all the others were locked. The fire spread quickly during a change of shifts, meaning that more workers than usual were at the plant and became victims.
"When I finally ran out and looked back at the plant, I saw high flames," employee Wang Fengya told Xinhua News.
Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the building's design, there may still be people trapped inside, but officials said they are doing their best to account for everyone.
"Rescue work is still underway," Zhao Xian, deputy director of the local emergency office, told Xinhua. "The rescuers are trying their utmost to search for any survivors in the fire. We'll do our bets to treat the wounded, identify the victims, and investigate the cause of the incident."
However, many of the victims' families have questions, such as why only one door was open and why the building's owners took their workers for granted.
"My wife's just gone like that – what kind of country is this?" Wang Shoufeng asked CNN. His wife perished in the fire and now he is seeking answers and accountability for her death.
"They work 14,15 hours a day with very short bathroom breaks," he explained. "They work year round with no time off."
Investigators have said that they expect the death toll to continue to rise once they are able to reach certain areas of the building.