At least 50 people are dead and hundreds more were injured from yesterday’s explosions in Tianjin, China. Authorities are still trying to piece together what happened, but here’s what we know: The blasts, which happened a little before midnight local time, originated from a warehouse storing toxic chemicals. They were so strong that they felt like earthquakes; in fact, according to the BBC, a U.S. Geological Survey monitoring unit detected the explosions from 100 miles away.
Chinese authorities did not say what caused the blasts. Local officials said firefighting was suspended on orders of the central government so that a team of chemical experts could assess hazardous materials on site. (Via)
Buildings crumbled; cars were incinerated; and smoke continued to rise into the morning.
The blaze was brought “under initial control” on Thursday afternoon, Xinhua cited the public security ministry as saying, after 1,000 firefighters and 143 fire engines had been deployed to the site.
A 217-strong specialist nuclear, bacteriological and chemical warfare military unit arrived to help with the clean-up operation, Xinhua said. (Via)
An eyewitness said, “First, I saw some splashes of fire, and then a big fire ball after a few seconds. I felt a few blast waves… there was one moment when it felt like the air was being pulled away, and it was hard to breathe.” Here’s what the explosion looked like from six different angles:
We’ll update in this space once more information is available.