“Not the first time, but all of us were knocked face down on the ground”. There were about seven small explosions in the area on Saturday, according to a post on the micro-blog of the official China Central Television.
Chinese authorities have evacuated a three-kilometre zone around the Tianjin explosion site over fears of chemical contamination.
Firefighters, who continued to look for survivors at the twin-blast site, have saved 32 people so far, Xinhua news agency reported. CNN has reported that at least one disaster recovery shelter is located within the reported evacuation zone.
‘Lessons paid for with blood’. The company has not said a word since the two blasts and its phone line has been disconnected.
American Daniel Van Duren has shot what may be the most intense footage yet of the frenzied moments before, during and after Wednesday’s devastating explosion in the Chinese port city of Tianjin.
The blasts on Wednesday night were preceded by a fire at the warehouse, and questions have also been raised about whether the hundreds of firefighters were aware of the hazards, and whether they were trained to combat complex chemical fires.
Meanwhile, a man in his 50s was also rescued from the blasts site earlier in the day.
“I thought it was an quake, so I rushed downstairs without my shoes on”, Tianjin resident Zhang Siyu, whose home is several kilometers from the blast site, told the Associated Press.
The death toll today rose to 56, including 21 firemen, local officials said, adding that as many as 721 injured have been hospitalized, of whom 58 have sustained critical injuries.
Investigators are trying to identify the chemicals that were stored in the warehouse.
David Leggett, a chemical safety expert based in California, said the acetylene explosion could have detonated the ammonium nitrate.
Preliminary forensic investigations of warehouse transactions show loading and arrival areas may have cargoes containing toxic chemicals including trichloroethylene and sodium cyanide, Gao Huaiyou, deputy director of the Tianjin Administration of Work Safety, said at a briefing Saturday. Materials were kept there briefly when they arrived at the port and before they were transported elsewhere.
The warehouse was destroyed by the explosions, he told reporters at a news conference, and managers of the facility have provided “insufficient information” about what was stored there.
They should “firmly implement special regulatory measures for highly toxic chemicals such as cyanide, as well as inflammable and explosive materials”.
The reports were not yet verified, Gao said.
What is the environmental toll? More than 1,000 firefighters joined rescue operations, and 12 of those firefighters lost their lives.