China blast leaves big crater, part of hospital destroyed

Rescue workers searching for survivors yesterday after an explosion at a prefabricated house in the north-west Chinese province of Shaanxi. At least seven people died and more than 90 were injured, Xinhua news agency reported. The cause of the blast
Rescue workers searching for survivors yesterday after an explosion at a prefabricated house in the north-west Chinese province of Shaanxi. At least seven people died and more than 90 were injured, Xinhua news agency reported. The cause of the blast in Xinmin town was not yet known. Dozens of buildings were damaged, including a hospital. Some online news sites quoted residents as saying the blast could have been caused by illegally stored explosives. PHOTO: REUTERS
Rescue workers at the site of a blast in the town of Xinmin in Fugu county, Shaanxi province, yesterday. The explosion in a prefabricated house reportedly left a 5m-wide and 4m-deep crater next to a hospital, part of which was blown off. Other buildi
Rescue workers at the site of a blast in the town of Xinmin in Fugu county, Shaanxi province, yesterday. The explosion in a prefabricated house reportedly left a 5m-wide and 4m-deep crater next to a hospital, part of which was blown off. Other buildings nearby were also damaged.PHOTO: REUTERS

XI'AN • A powerful explosion in a prefabricated house ripped through a town in China's northwest Shaanxi province yesterday, leaving at least seven dead and 94 hospitalised, the local authorities have said.

"I was at home when I heard a loud boom. It felt like the house was about to be flipped," a local resident told reporters.

An initial investigation indicated that the makeshift house had been built inside a residential compound, the Xinhua news agency reported.

It remains unclear what caused the explosion in the coal-mining town of Xinmin in Fugu county. But local newspaper Huashang reported on its website that the blast had something to do with explosives hidden in the basement of the building.

The blast reportedly left a 5m-wide and 4m-deep crater next to a hospital, part of which was blown off. Some other buildings nearby were also damaged by the impact.

Of the 94 people warded for injuries, four are in intensive care.

In August, a blast at a power plant in Dangyang city, central Hubei, killed at least 21 people on the eve of the first anniversary marking massive chemical explosions in the Chinese port city of Tianjin. The blasts in north-east China killed more than 170 people.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2016, with the headline 'China blast leaves big crater, part of hospital destroyed'. Print Edition | Subscribe