Fire at steel mill in China's Hebei province kills seven

BEIJING, Oct 24 (Reuters) - A fire at a steel producer in northern China's Hebei province has killed seven people, provincial authorities said on Thursday.

The accident happened at a sintering plant in Heibei Xinghua Iron & Steel Co Ltd in Handan, China's second-biggest steel producing city, at 3:30 a.m. local time, the Department of Emergency Management of Hebei Province said in a brief statement on its website.

A person who answered the phone at the company declined to comment. It is not clear if the company has halted production at the plant.

Hebei Xinghua has annual steelmaking capacity of 2 million tonnes, according to its website.

China has a history of workplace accidents. A blast at a plant in Jiangsu province in March killed 78 people, triggering public outrage over safety standards at industrial facilities.

(Reporting by Min Zhang and Dominique Patton; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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