Another warehouse explosion hits Tianjin

Rescuers at the site of an explosion at a warehouse in the Beichen district of Tianjin yesterday. The incident occurred just two months after massive explosions at a chemical storage facility devastated a swathe of the northern port city, killing 165
Rescuers at the site of an explosion at a warehouse in the Beichen district of Tianjin yesterday. The incident occurred just two months after massive explosions at a chemical storage facility devastated a swathe of the northern port city, killing 165 people. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

No casualties reported after blast at facility storing chemicals illegally, say officials

BEIJING • A warehouse explosion hit the Chinese port city of Tianjin just two months after a massive blast in the city left more than 160 people dead, officials said yesterday.

No one appeared to have been killed by the blast on Monday evening at a warehouse storing alcohol and other chemicals, district officials said online.

Explosions are common in China, where safety standards are often lax. Over the weekend, 17 people were killed in Anhui province when a gas canister blew up at a restaurant.

By early yesterday, the Tianjin fire had been put out and no casualties had yet been reported, officials in the city's Beichen district said on social media.

The authorities say a total of 165 people died in massive explosions at a chemical storage facility that devastated a swathe of the northern port in August.

Nearly 100 fire-fighters were among the dead in China's worst industrial accident in more than a decade.

Because of its location, the latest explosion became a trending topic yesterday on Sina Weibo - a microblogging service similar to Twitter - with users posting what they said were images of the blast.

The local authorities said on Sina Weibo that the blast was caused by a company that had illegally rented a warehouse to store chemicals used to make plastics.

The facility had 3,000kg of alcohol in close proximity to 1,000kg of acetic acid, it said.

They added that air pollution measurements were within safe levels and that the incident posed no risks to health.

The August explosions and their aftermath raised a host of questions in China about industrial safety and poor fire-fighter training.

State media said that well-connected company executives had illegally flouted residential zoning regulations to set up their chemical storage facility.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2015, with the headline 'Another warehouse explosion hits Tianjin'. Print Edition | Subscribe