New warehouse blast hits Tianjin: China's state media

Fire and smoke rising at the site of an explosion at a warehouse in Beichen district in Tianjin on Oct 13, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING - A warehouse explosion hit Tianjin on Monday (Oct 12) night, Chinese officials said on Tuesday (Oct 13), just two months after a massive blast in the eastern port city left more than 160 dead.

No-one appeared to have been killed by the blast on Monday evening at a warehouse in Beichen District's Xiditou Township storing alcohol and other chemicals, district officials said online.

Police received a report of an explosion at 9.46pm local time, but by the early hours of Tuesday morning the fire had been put out and no casualties had yet been reported, it said.

The explosion became a trending topic on the Sina Weibo social media platform early on Tuesday, 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. The facility had 3,000kg of alcohol, in close proximity to 1,000kg of acetic acid, used to make plastics, it said.

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

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.

A total of 165 people died as a result of the explosions of Aug 12 at a hazardous goods storage facility, which devastated a swathe of Tianjin, the authorities say.

Nearly 100 firefighters were among the dead, in China's worst industrial accident in more than a decade.

The August explosions and their aftermath raised a host of questions in China about industrial safety, as well as the enforcement of residential zoning regulations, government transparency and the adequacy of firefighter training.

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