BEIJING -- An explosion at a fireworks shop in southern China killed five people Tuesday at the start of lunar new year celebrations, news reports said.
The shop in Rong'an county in the Guangxi region west of Hong Kong operated without required fire safety and business licenses, the Xinhua News Agency said.
Investigators blamed the explosion on the shopkeeper, identified only by the surname Zhang, setting off fireworks outside the shop at 2 a.m., according to Xinhua. It said five people were killed but gave no other details.
Zhang survived and was detained by county authorities, the newspaper Beijing Youth Daily reported.
Such disasters occur regularly in China, where the traditional new year is celebrated by setting off billions of firecrackers. But the number reported has fallen sharply in recent years as authorities banned fireworks in cities and tightened controls on producers and vendors.