Gulf Today

Huge blast kills two, injures 26 in northern China


SANHE: A huge suspected gas explosion at a restaurant in northern China killed two people and injured 26 more during Wednesday rush hour, state media reported, causing severe damage to buildings.

The blast occurred just before 8:00 am, state broadcaste­r CCTV said, in a residentia­l area in the city of Sanhe, Hebei province, less than 50 kilometres east of the centre of Beijing.

CCTV reported at 1:30 pm that two people had since died and that 26 were injured. The fire has been extinguish­ed, it added.

The explosion was suspected to have been caused by a gas leak at a fried chicken shop, state media reported.

“I heard a great big bang... which scared me stiff,” a seller at a local market said.

“Outside, I saw clouds of black smoke,” they added.

Another seller said they also heard a “huge bang” from the blast site, in a bustling area of squat apartment blocks about six or seven floors high.

An AFP team at the scene also observed police waving oncoming traffic away from an entrance to the neighbourh­ood where the explosion occurred.

From a police cordon on the north side of the blast zone, they could see a tower of grey smoke a few hundred metres away, with what appeared to be a crane positioned near it.

Footage online circulated by state media showed a huge explosion that sent plumes of smoke and fire across a busy road.

Another video on social media verified by AFP showed what appeared to be a building that had completely collapsed as well as several destroyed cars and debris strewn across the street.

The blast blew out shop facades opposite, footage shared on video-sharing site Douyin showed.

The uploader told AFP the explosion took place 200 metres from her home.

Rescue workers rushed to the scene, with the local Langfang fire department saying 36 emergency vehicles and 154 personnel had been dispatched.

A merchant working at a nearby store told state-run Jimu News she had been in her shop when she heard a bang.

She ran out of her store and saw a building on fire, she said, adding that “the whole building was virtually destroyed.”

Explosions and other deadly accidents are common in China due to lax safety standards and poor enforcemen­t.

Last month, at least 15 people were killed and 44 injured in a fire at a residentia­l building in the eastern city of Nanjing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bahrain