China’s workplace safety agency said negligence among factory managers and government inspectors caused “extremely chaotic” work-safety conditions at a poultry plant where a deadly fire killed 120 workers this week, reports the Associated Press. The fire at the Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry Co. plant killed 120 workers.

A statement from State Administration of Work Safety head Yang Dongliang confirmed workers’ accounts that the safety exits at the plant were blocked, and that plant managers did not hold required safety drills. No one at the plant took responsibility for safety, while the relevant local government departments failed to make proper inspections, Yang said.

“An initial investigation shows that the management of work safety at this plant was extremely chaotic,” Yang was quoted as telling investigators and other officials Thursday at a meeting in Changchun, Jilin’s capital. “The accident also revealed that local government and relevant departments failed in their responsibilities while oversight and inspection work was weak and incomplete. This was a serious case of negligence.”

While the official cause of the poultry plant disaster hasn’t been announced, initial reports said the fire appeared to have been sparked by an explosion caused by leaking ammonia. The fire broke out during a shift change when about 350 workers were at the plant.

In addition to the dead, 77 workers were hospitalized with injuries, while another 17 workers earlier listed as missing had been found alive, according to the Jilin provincial government. State media said that about 90 percent of the victims were female, that their ages ranged from 17 to the 50s and that they were from nearby farming villages.

The plant’s owner and managers have been taken into police custody and its assets have been frozen.

Source: Associated Press