Explosions Leave 50 Dead, Hundreds Injured

Blast so large it could be seen from space

In-Depth Coverage of Tianjin Explosions

Massive explosions rocked the port city of Tianjin late last night that killed 50, critically injured dozens, and sent hundreds to the hospital. The explosions triggered a mushroom cloud and were so big that shockwaves from the blast could be felt kilometers away from the site.

It happened at the Ruihai warehouse at the Binhai New Area, a facility that stores chemical goods, at 10:50 last night. The explosions were powerful enough to be recorded by the China Earthquake Administration. The first blast happened at 11:34:06 pm, and was so big it was the equivalent of three tons of TNT. The second explosion happened 30 seconds later with the force of a 21 ton TNT bomb. 

Many of the injuries were caused by glass shattering from the force of the explosion. Local residents said the blast blew out their windows and doors. A woman living not 700 meters to the south of the blast said her home had been destroyed.  “My ceiling lamp in the living room was blown away. The wooden door to the balcony was crushed to pieces.”

Local residents were evacuated from their homes for fear of dangerous gases that may have leaked into the air.

Twelve teams of Tianjin fire fighters were sent to fight the blaze. Six perished in the effort, while another 20 are still missing. Some seven or eight fire trucks were also destroyed.

tianjin explosion satelite

The explosion was so powerful that it could be seen from space (seen above). The incident was recorded by a Japanese Himawari-8 satelite, a Japanese MTSAT-2 satelite, and a Korean COMS-1 satelite.

tianjin explosion

Another aerial view shows the proximity of residential areas to the blast area. To the bottom of the picture above are 5,617 households located only 700 meters away from where the explosion occurred.

The head of the company responsible for storing the flammable material thought to cause the explosion has been arrested.

Tianjin’s metro network has been shut down today so emergency buses are in service. The Chinese government also says the noxious air from the explosion is being blown out to sea.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor