Some eyewitness reports indicate a lightning strike hit the building, but that has not been independently confirmed.
UPDATE: Apple issues a statement about the explosion. Our original story is below.
The Foxconn Chengdu manufacturing plant -- a key part of Apple's product pipeline -- has suffered an explosion, according to Engadget.com.
Sina Tech is reporting two deaths and 16 injured people, with three in critical condition (via Engadget).
Witnesses report a lightning strike and possible dust explosion.
Foxconn told Gizmodo this:
We can confirm that at approximately 7 pm on May 20, there was an explosion at our Chengdu campus. At this point, we can also confirm that there were two fatalities with injuries to 16 other employees. We are working with medical officials to provide treatment to the injured employees and we are working with government and law enforcement officials to contact the families of all employees affected by this tragedy.
The situation has been brought under control by the fire department and the cause of this explosion is being investigated by local police officials. Foxconn is cooperating fully with that investigation.
Production has been suspended at the site of the explosion until the completion of the investigation. The safety of our employees is our highest priority and we will do whatever is required to determine and address the cause of this tragic accident.
The explosion happened in A5 building, and we heard that building is also the production line of iPad2. 2nd, 3rd and 4th floor (sic) are affected as well," according to Made in China blog (MICgadget.com).
The below video is from ChinaNews.com: