7 Dead, Hundreds Hurt in China Port City Blast

A social media image purportedly shows flames and smoke from an explosion rising into the night sky in Tianjin, China.

VOA News,August 13, 2015

A massive blast in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin late Wednesday killed at least seven and injured some 300 people when a shipment of explosives blew up.

There was no immediate explanation for the blast, although official state media reports say it is believed to have occurred in a warehouse for hazardous materials.  

State-run media said two explosions within 30 seconds of each other were so strong they registered at a nearby earthquake monitoring station.

One eyewitness said she was shopping at the time of the blast when "suddenly from behind there was a big fireball and explosion." She said "nearby cars and buildings were shaking, a few buildings' glass all broke and everyone started to run."

People who witnessed the explosion posted pictures and videos on Chinese social media outlets showing massive plumes of fire and smoke that dwarfed nearby high-rise buildings. The videos also depict an enormous shockwave that rattled buildings several kilometers from the blast site.

Tianjin is a port city in northern China, about 150 kilometers southeast of Beijing, and is home to more than 7 million people. It is China's fourth largest city.