Jilin province, China
Photo credit: Rusheng Yao/Getty Images/iStockphoto

At least 119 people were killed in a fire at a poultry processing plant in China early Monday morning, BBC News reported.

Officials said an ammonia leak may have contributed to the fire at the Baoyuan plant in Jilin province. Other sources told BBC News that an electrical fault caused the fire.

Witnesses said explosions occurred prior to the fire, causing panic as workers tried to escape. Some exits were said to be locked, according to the article.

More than 500 firefighters and at least 270 medical personnel were called to the scene and nearby homes were evacuated.

Established in 2009, the poultry plant employs about 1,200 people and produces approximately 67,000 tons of chicken products annually.