Deadly blasts rock Tian­jin

17 re­ported dead, hun­dreds in­jured af­ter two ex­plo­sions hit chem­i­cals ware­house; Xi calls for all-out res­cue

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHINA DAILY and XIN­HUA

At least 17 peo­ple have been con­firmed dead, 32 are in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, and at least another 400 were in­jured as of 6:30 am Thurs­day Bei­jing time af­ter an ex­plo­sion ripped through a ware­house in North China’s Tian­jin City, ac­cord­ing to po­lice au­thor­ity.

Two mas­sive ex­plo­sions caused by flammable goods tore through the in­dus­trial area late on Wed­nes­day.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Premier Li Ke­qiang have urged all-out ef­forts to save the in­jured and min­i­mize ca­su­al­ties.

Xi de­manded that author­i­ties quickly ex­tin­guish the fire caused by the blasts and “make full ef­fort to res­cue and treat the in­jured and en­sure the safety of peo­ple and their prop­erty”.

The blasts erupted in a ship­ment of ex­plo­sives at around 11:30 pm lo­cal time (11:30 am New York time), trig­ger­ing re­ver­ber­a­tions that were felt miles away. The sec­ond blast came roughly 30 sec­onds af­ter the first.

Two fire­fight­ers were “out of con­tact”, and another four were in­jured as of 3 am Bei­jing time Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to po­lice au­thor­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to the Sina Weibo post of the fire­fight­ing bureau un­der the Min­istry of Public Se­cu­rity, the Tian­jin fire brigade sent 12 teams af­ter re­ceiv­ing a fire re­port from the Rui­hai ware­house in the Bin­hai New Area at 10:50 pm Wed­nes­day.

The ware­house stores dan­ger­ous and chem­i­cal goods. The brigade then sent another nine teams and 35 fire en­gines as re­in­force­ment af­ter the first ex­plo­sion.

Some res­i­dents said their win­dow glass and fish tanks shat­tered. Peo­ple in neigh­bor­hoods nearby said flames lit up the sky, and the loud blasts sent smoke and dust sky­ward.

Lu Yun, head of the nearby Taida Hos­pi­tal, said it has re­ceived more than 50 wounded peo­ple, and more are com­ing. The in­juries were mainly from bro­ken glass or stones.

WANG GUAN­GRONG, SHAN HAIHAN, ZHANG LEI / FOR CHINA DAILY

Smoke and fire shoot il­lu­mi­nated the sky early Thurs­day af­ter an ex­plo­sion in the Bin­hai New Area in North China’s Tian­jin Mu­nic­i­pal­ity. Two ex­plo­sions rocked a ware­house that stores flammable ma­te­ri­als and chem­i­cals around 11:30 pm on Wed­nes­day, Bei­jing time.

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