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Tianjin blast destroys vehicles and buildings, casualties reported

Tianjin blast destroys vehicles and buildings, casualties reported image

Text: Anton Andres / Photos: via Weibo, Shanghaiist | posted August 13, 2015 16:17

Police say initial blast took place in warehouse

Late last night, a series of explosions rocked the port city of Tianjin, China. Tianjin is located south-east of Beijing. Casualties have been reported.

Damaged cars

At the time of writing, the authorites estimated over 400 people have been admitted to hospitals and 44 have been killed. Damage to infrastructure includes buildings, warehouses and cell towers. The blast's shockwave contributed to the high injury rate which sent debris and flying glass all over the city. Reports say the shockwave was felt up to 5 kilometers. The area is also a stockyard for car manufacturers and burned around 6,000 vehicles, namely from Volkswagen and Renault.

According to authorities, the initial explosion started in a warehouse storing hazardous materials. A series of smaller blasts was followed by two massive explosions and set fire to its immediate surroundings. In photos being circulated around social media, the biggest blast erupted into a fireball that painted the night sky orange. Chinese authorites have begun controlling information with numerous posts from its netizens being taken down.

The two explosions were strong enough to register in China's earthquake detectors. The first explosion had a magnitude of 2.3 while the second, more powerful blast had a magnitude of 2.9. As emergency services arrived, they prioritized the search and rescue missions first choosing to let the fire die down because of its potentialy hazardous accelerant. The following morning, there were still fires around the center of the deadly explosion. Reporters on scene noted an odd smell in the area, possibly a sign of the chemicals burnt up in the blaze.

Chinese authorities have sent in extra resources for the rescue efforts. People have continued to camp out in the streets while the firefighters attempt to control parts of the blaze.