At least 23 people were killed and several injured after a fire broke out in a ceramic factory in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, according to authorities on Tuesday.

The blast hit Salomi ceramic factory after a fuel tanker was unloading gas at the tile manufacturing facility, the government said.

Thick plumes of black smoke billowed into the sky after the blaze broke out at a tile manufacturing unit in an industrial zone in north Khartoum.

“A fire erupted in an industrial area because of which 23 people were killed and more than 130 injured,” the statement said.

“A blast in a gas tanker triggered the fire”, the statement further added.

“The explosion was loud. Several cars that were parked in the compound of the factory also caught fire,” an employee of an adjacent factory told the AFP.

Sudan has suffered from various industrial accidents in recent months, raising concerns about the adequacy of health and safety regulations.

In March, a fire broke out due to a short circuit in offices at the old Republican Palace in Khartoum.

The palace was the official office of the Sudanese government before ousted President Omar al-Bashir switched to another in recent years.

Al-Bashir, who took power after he led a coup in the oil-rich country in 1989, was deposed and arrested in a military coup in April that came after months of anti-government demonstrations.