Powerful blast, fire at India chemicals warehouse kills 12

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NEW DELHI (AP) — A major fire and a powerful blast Wednesday rocked a cotton factory warehouse storing chemicals in western India and killed 12 people, a rescue official said.

Twelve bodies were recovered from the warehouse on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in Gujarat state, according to National Disaster Response Force spokesman Krishan Kumar.

Television images showed several workers fleeing. Twenty-four fire engines and more than 50 firefighters doused the blaze after several hours, the fire control room said.

A portion of the warehouse collapsed, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "anguished by the loss of lives due to the fire in the warehouse in Ahmedabad."

Some nearby buildings also were damaged, the New Delhi television news channel said.

Poor safety standards are a frequent cause of fires in India.

Last December, a fire believed to be caused by an electrical short circuit engulfed a building in New Delhi, killing at least 43 people.