Larger than usual payouts will be given to families of firefighters who were killed in the blasts that ripped through a warehouse storing hazardous material in Tianjin last month.
The Associated Press reports that each family will be given 2.3 million yuan in compensation, 940,000 yuan of which is considered “martyrdom payment”. The report noted that the payout is more than double the amount given to relatives of victims who died in the 2011 Wenzhou train crash, another tragedy that made headlines around the world.
The usual compensation amount given to accident victims is 20 times the average salary in China.
Some speculate that the huge payout is an attempt by authorities to quiet criticism after it came to light that many of the firefighters dispatched to the Ruihai International Logistics warehouse had not been adequately prepared for tackling such a blaze.
Some of the first responders told reporters that they didn’t know calcium carbide, a substance that produces flammable acetylene gas when wet, was present at the scene. One firefighter said in a Beijing News report that the fire “became bigger and bigger” as they hosed it down.
“No one told them the fire involved chemicals,” an off-duty firefighter later told the New York Times.
At least 164 people were killed when a series of explosions shook the warehouse in Tianjin’s Binhai district on August 12, with 97 firefighters among the dead.