Massive explosions in China’s port city Tianjin leave many dead, injured

World Today

Photo from weibo user.

A fire and at least two massive explosions around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday local time injured hundreds and so far killed 17 people along with two firefighters who died at an industrial area roughly 75 miles southeast of Beijing. Dozens of building collapsed are cars were burned out. 

China’s People’s Daily newspaper has reported 17 people dead so far from the violent explosions at the dock at the Tianjin Binhai New Development Zone. An additional 32 have serious injuries and 283 others are currently hospitalized, the newspaper reported. Reporters have been moved 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the explosion zone as the surrounding buildings are collapsing, and all residents have been evacuated.

Police were focusing on search and rescue operations rather than putting out the fire, as they want all chemicals to burn up completely. There was concern that high winds in the area could cause yet another blast. 

Only one group of firefighters were currently on site, in case of further explosions and to reduce the possibility of more casualties. More firefighters were standing by and volunteers went to local hospitals to help. Blood centers were calling for donations.

Weibo users reported doors in their apartments were shaken off and many captured photos and video of the inferno. Several high-rise buildings are out of power. People standing outside of their buildings. Some have reported chemical gas leaks.

The Tianjin Fire Department (link in Chinese) reported that the fire began about 10:50 p.m. on Tuesday local time, and two explosions followed within 30 seconds of each other. About 100 fire trucks have been sent to the scene, the department said.

The China Earthquake Networks Center reported that the first explosion had a 2.3 degree magnitude (equivalent to 3 tons of TNT), and the second had a 2.9 degree magnitude (equivalent to 21 tons of TNT).

According to the Tianjin Public Security Bureau, the explosion happened at the Tianjin Dongjiang Port Rui Hai International Logistics Co. Ltd., which handles the transport of hazardous goods. The company’s website said it was established in 2011.

The People’s Daily has reported that a Ruihai company representative has been detained.