Beijing: At least 24 workers were killed and 52 others injured today when a fire broke out in a coal mine in China's northeastern Liaoning province soon after a mild earthquake jolted the region.
The fire was noticed in the early hours at the coal mine under Hengda Coal, a subsidiary of Fuxin Coal, a major producer in the province.
24 workers were killed in the accident, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Fuxin Coal said the rescue is over and all the injured workers have been hospitalized.
"Some of the injured are still in critical conditions and might need to be transferred to bigger hospitals in the provincial capital of Shenyang," a medical worker with the general hospital run by the mine company told Xinhua.
The victims mostly suffered burns and respiratory damage, she said.
Fuxin is some 200 km northwest from Shenyang. It will take around three hours to transfer the victims.
Before the fire broke out, a 1.6-magnitude quake was monitored at a city near the coal mine.
Local government is investigating connections between tremor and the fire.
Hengda Coal has halted operations in all of its mines for safety checks. The company employs more than 4,600 people.
Built in 1978, the Fuxin mine is one of the largest coal producers in northeast China with an annual production of 1.5 million tons.
The Fuxin Coal has some 4,660 employees. It's not the first time such an accident has happened in the mine.
Last year, eight workers were killed during a gas leak in a Fuxin Coal.