Early morning blast in Shenyang barbecue restaurant kills 4, injures 47

The site of a gas explosion accident at a restaurant after the explosion ripped through a busy street in Shenyang on Oct 21, 2021. PHOTOS: AFP
The incident happened just before 8.20am at a restaurant in China, on Oct 21, 2021. PHOTO: LIAONING FIRE DEPARTMENT/WEIBO
The explosion appears to have been caused by a gas leak, the authorities have said. PHOTO: LIAONING FIRE DEPARTMENT/WEIBO

BEIJING - An early morning explosion in a restaurant in north-eastern China has killed four people and injured 47 including passers-by, officials said on Thursday (Oct 21).

The incident happened just before 8.20am at a barbecue restaurant in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province, said the Liaoning Fire Department.

It appears to have been caused by a gas leak, the authorities have said.

"The explosion also damaged nearby buildings, and there is also a public bus that has been affected in the incident," the department said in an update on its official Weibo page just before noon.

"City emergency services, utilities officials and public security departments are all at the scene. Rescue efforts are still underway."

In an earlier post, it said the blast occurred in a mixed-use building that had both commercial and residential units.

The building is located at a busy traffic intersection and many of those injured appeared to be passers-by on their early morning commute.

A live stream of the scene showed blown out windows on the first three floors of the building, with debris strewn across the street. Nearby vehicles and at least one public bus were damaged while several motorised tricycles lay on their sides, knocked over by the impact.

Footage uploaded on social media showed smoke billowing from the building as people fled for safety.

The Liaoning Fire Department briefly came under criticism when it continued live-streaming an inter-departmental skills contest while rescue efforts were underway.

"Are you kidding us? Show us the scene of rescue," read one comment on the live feed, which ended shortly after.

In June, at least 25 people were killed and more than 100 injured after a gas pipe exploded in a busy market in central Hubei province.

It prompted Chinese President Xi Jinping to order officials to "stay vigilant and politically sensitive" in preventing major safety hazards.

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