China explosion kills 50 people and injures 700 (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

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The explosion that rocked the Chinese city of Tianjin Wednesday has now reportedly killed at least 50 people and injured 700.

The first explosion occurred at 11:30 p.m. local time at a warehouse which stored several kinds of toxic chemicals. A massive fireball swallowed the industrial complex and blew out glass, scorched nearby buildings and sent shockwaves as far as 10 kilometres away.

The explosion had an equivalent force of 21 tons of TNT exploding and created a tremor equivalent to a magnitude 2.9 earthquake.

Around 1,000 firefighters were dispatched to the scene, and some of them are among the reported casualties. According to the BBC, 12 firefighters are confirmed dead and another 36 are missing.

A fire had broken out at the warehouse earlier in the evening at around 11 p.m. and authorities sent two firefighting crews into the blaze between 11:06 p.m. and 11:16 p.m. Those crews were on the ground when the explosions occurred 15 minutes later.

Shortly after the explosion, state media reported 300 to 400 people were sent to hospital in the Binhai District and the China Earthquake Center measured two explosions happening within 30 seconds, registering a 2.3 and a 2.9 magnitude.

The number of injured people has now risen to at least 700.

Tianjin is located about 120 kilometres south-east of Beijing and is home to 15.2 million people.

 

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