China Investigates Massive Explosion

中国调查天津仓库爆炸原因
This photo taken on August 13, 2015 shows a destroyed car as a fire continues to burn after a series of explosions at a chemical warehouse hit the city of Tianjin, in northern China.

VOA News,August 15, 2015

Chinese authorities are continuing an investigation into what caused two gigantic explosions at a warehouse in a main port city, as locals expressed fears about the possible presence of dangerous chemicals near the site.

Several small fires were still smoldering early Friday at the site of the blasts, which occurred late Wednesday in a warehouse storing dangerous chemicals in a mostly industrial neighborhood in the northeastern city of Tianjin.

Officials say at least 50 people were killed and 700 others injured, with 70 in serious condition. It is not known how many people are missing, and there are widespread expectations that the death toll will continue to grow.

A team of 217 military nuclear and biochemical specialists, along with a group from the International Atomic Energy Agency's Beijing office, have been dispatched to the area, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Tianjin safety authorities said Friday they have not determined what specific dangerous chemicals were stored in the warehouses.

Officials quoted by Xinhua said there are "major discrepancies between the accounts of company management and customs." Management officials of the company that operated the warehouse have already been brought into custody.

High densities of toxic gases, including sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides were detected within 500 meters of the fire, according to Tianjin's environmental office on Thursday. But it said toxic fumes within the city are "within national standards."

Tianjin municipal authorities have set up 22 monitoring stations, five of which are checking water quality, according to the China Daily. It said hazardous substances, including a highly toxic cyanide, were found three times and eight times higher than normal during a test of two drainage outlets near the blast site.

A report in the state-run Beijing News reported earlier that at least 700 tons of sodium cyanide were being held at the warehouse. The report, which was later removed, said the toxic chemical had been detected in sewage samples.

In the U.S., the White House sent its condolences; spokesman Ned Price called the explosions a tragedy and praised the first responders working to help the injured.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement extended his condolences to the families of the victims, including the fire fighters, who, he said, "made the ultimate sacrifice."

中国调查天津仓库爆炸原因

美国之音,2015年8月15日

中国当局继续对主要港口城市天津一个仓库发生两次巨大爆炸的原因进行调查,当地居民担心爆炸现场附近可能存在有毒化学物。

爆炸造成的死亡人数增至56人,包括21名消防队员。另有700多人受伤,仍在医院接受治疗,其中33人伤势严重。现在还不清楚失踪的人数。人们广泛认为死亡人数会更多。

中国官方的新华社说,一支由217名中国军队核生化专家组成的工作队以及国际原子能机构驻北京办事处人员已经前往爆炸现场。

天津市安全部门星期五表示,现在还不确定发生爆炸的仓库里储存的是什么危险化学品。天津环境部门星期四说,在火灾现场周围500米的范围内测出了高浓度二氧化硫、一氧化碳和氮氧化物等有毒气体,但是城区的有毒气体浓度在国家标准之内。

中国官方的中国日报报道,天津市政府设立了22个监查站,其中5个监查水质,对爆炸现场附近两个地点的水质检测显示有害物质分别超标3倍和8倍。

在美国,白宫向死难者表示慰问。发言人普莱斯称爆炸事件是一个悲剧,并赞扬了在第一时间赶到现场的救援人员对伤者的帮助。

联合国秘书长潘基文发表声明对遇难者、包括牺牲消防队员的家属表示慰问。