- Wednesday 12th August 2015, two gigantic explosions witnessed at a warehouse in a main port city in China.
- Chinese authorities have embarked an investigation on what caused the explosion.
- Locals express fears about the possible presence of dangerous chemicals near the explosion site.
- Early Friday, several small fires were still smoldering at the site of the blast. The warehouse was storing dangerous chemicals in a mostly industrial neighbourhood in the northeastern city of Tianjin.
- The explosion has claimed lives of at least 50 people and 700 others injured, 70 are in critical condition.
- A team of 217 military specialists in nuclear and biochemical have been dispatched along with a group from International Atomic Energy Agency’s Beijing office.
- Investigation has been hampered by potentially dangerous situation on the ground. It is not clear to determine what kind of pollutants has been emitted into the air; this is to Nankai University School of Environmental Science professor Feng Yinchang.
- High densities of toxic gases, including sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides were detected within 500 meters of the fire, according to Tianjin’s environmental office on Thursday. But it said toxic fumes within the city are “within national standards.”
As the China team of investigators continues with their searches for clues on the toxic chemicals after warehouse explosion, security authorities have arrested the management officials of the company that operated the warehouse on what they termed as major discrepancies between the accounts of company management and customs.
According to the China Daily, Tianjin municipal authorities have set up 22 monitoring stations, five of which are checking water quality.
Initial tests have indicated of hazardous substances, including highly toxic cyanide, were found three times and eight times higher than normal during a test of two drainage outlets near the blast site.
The first explosion took place just after 11:30 p.m. local time Wednesday, followed shortly by a second more powerful blast. China’s National Earthquake Bureau said the first blast was the equivalent of 3 tons of TNT, and the second 21 tons.
Tianjin is a port city in northeastern China, about 150 kilometers southeast of Beijing, and is home to more than 15 million people. It is China’s fourth largest city.