Six people were hospitalized and hundreds of firefighters deployed to fight a hydrocarbon fire after an explosion at a southern China plant that produces paraxylene, a toxic chemical. It was the second explosion to hit the factory in 20 months.
Para-Xylene or p-Xylene is an aromatic hydrocarbon based on benzene with two methyl substituents on each end of the aromatic ring with the chemical formula C8H10 or C6H4(CH3)2. Para-Xylene is also known as 1,4-Dimethylbenzene.
Para-Xylene has a specific gravity of 0.86, is flammable and has a flash point of 27°C (81 °F) or and possibly as low as 25°C (77°F).
According to CAMEO Chemicals, water may be ineffective in fighting a p-Xylene fire. Fire extinguishing agents are foam, dry chemical or carbon dioxide.
When a tank, rail tank car, or tank truck is involved in a fire, evacuation recommended is 1/2-mile in all directions.
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