Devastating explosions tore through warehouses in Tianjin, China, where hazardous chemical materials were stored. The explosions were so large that they sent a fireball into the sky, and shook buildings over two miles away, according to CNN.
“The first explosion was huge, and the second was even more powerful — the equivalent of 21 metric tons of TNT or a magnitude-2.9 earthquake, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center,” said the CNN report.
Currently 50 people are confirmed dead, and over 700 injured, reports AFP. These numbers do not include people who are still missing.
The blasts occurred Wednesday, shortly before midnight local time, according to The Wall Street Journal. The cause of the explosions are still unknown.
“The blasts late Wednesday in a dockside warehouse flattened buildings, burned out thousands of cars stored nearby and shattered windows for more than a mile around. Images on state television showed rescue workers massing around the still-smoking site throughout Thursday,” said The Wall Street Journal.
Hundreds of firefighters responded to the scene and battled to control the subsequent fires. Firefighters were told to stay away from the warehouses because local authorities did not know what chemicals were stored there.
Executives from the company that owns the warehouses were taken into custody, according to Xinhua, the state run media.
[CNN] [AFP] [Wall Street Journal] [Photo courtesy BBC]