3 dead at least 30 injured in China building explosion

2021-10-21, 10:52am Accidents


A suspected gas explosion has damaged multiple buildings and cars in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province in northeastern China. Photo - Handout via Microsoft News

Jack Lau jack.lau@scmp.com

The death toll has risen to three, with at least 30 people injured in the aftermath of an explosion which rocked the provincial capital of Liaoning, northeastern China on Thursday morning.

Investigators from the Shenyang emergency department and gas company are at the scene of the blast, which shattered windows in multiple buildings and sent debris flying, hitting a number of parked cars.

The explosion appears to have originated from a residential and commercial mixed-use building at the intersection of Shenyang's Nanqi Road and Taiyuan Nan Street, according to the preliminary investigation.

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The Heping district authorities provided the updated casualty information as fire and rescue teams continued to work in the cordoned-off area.

Photos posted by the Liaoning fire department on social media showed the explosion left the building's reinforcement bars exposed. A gas leak is suspected to be behind the blast.

Police and firefighters evacuated nearby residents. A woman who lived near the scene said her windows were shattered by the blast but her flat did not otherwise suffer much damage.

Another woman, living on the fifth floor of a building facing the blast site, said all of the windows in her block had been smashed. "I was scared when the explosion happened," she said. "Then I saw the fire trucks. They came quite quickly, after about a little more than 10 minutes."

She was in her kitchen at the time of the explosion, and said the room's concrete ceiling had been loosened by the blast.

"The command centre immediately sent from (various fire stations) 25 fire trucks and 110 firefighters to the scene," the fire department said on social media platform Weibo.

A car camcorder video circulating online shows smoke gushing out from one side of Nanqi Road to the other at around 8.19am, with people fleeing for their safety.

Multiple residents took to social media to live-stream the aftermath of the explosion, until they were told by police at the scene to stop filming. Their feeds have been suspended by social media platforms. At least one live stream on Kuaishou, the country's second most popular short video app, was taken down for displaying "acts of harming personal safety".

A middle-aged woman who lives in the area said water and electricity supplies had been cut off. She was among the crowd at the edge of the police cordon closing off the scene and said she initially thought there had been an earthquake when her bed shook from the blast.

Volunteers are recording residents' personal information and details of the damage to their flats and personal property. Some residents have expressed their frustrated at being unable to return to their homes while the area is closed off.

Police have told merchants in the area to close their shops, warning it might be dangerous to stay indoors.

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Via Microsoft News