Huge Explosions & Fire in Chinese Port of Tianjin Kill 44
Saturday, 08 15 2015, Category: Insurance and Reinsurance, Country: China
Two huge explosions tore through an industrial area where toxic chemicals and gas were stored in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin, killing at least 44 people, including at least a dozen fire fighters, officials and state media said on Thursday.
At least 520 people were injured, more than 60 of them seriously, the Tianjin government said on its Weibo microblog, and the People’s Daily newspaper said four fires were still burning.
Wednesday night’s blasts, so large that they were seen by satellites in space, sent shockwaves through apartment blocks kilometers away in the port city of 15 million people. Internet videos showed fireballs shooting into the sky and the U.S. Geological Survey registered the blasts as seismic events. Vast areas of the port – the 10th largest in the world – were devastated, crumpled shipping containers were thrown around like match sticks, hundreds of new cars were torched and port buildings left as burnt-out shells, Reuters witnesses said.
The cause of the blasts was unknown but industrial accidents are not uncommon in China following three decades of breakneck economic growth. A blast at an auto parts factory in eastern China killed 75 people a year ago when a room filled with metal dust exploded.
The official Xinhua news agency said 1,000 firefighters and more than 140 fire engines were struggling to contain a blaze in a warehouse that contained “dangerous goods.”
City officials had met recently with companies to discuss tightening safety standards on the handling of dangerous chemicals. The Tianjin Administration of Work Safety posted a notice about the meeting with companies at the port on its website a week ago.
Xinhua said the explosions, the first equivalent to 3 tons of TNT and the second to 21 tons of TNT, ripped through a warehouse. It identified the owner of the warehouse as Tianjin Dongjiang Port Ruihai International Logistics.
According to an assessment by government environmental inspectors published in 2014, the facility was designed to store several dangerous and toxic chemicals including butanone, an explosive industrial solvent, sodium cyanide and compressed natural gas.
Source: Insurance Journal