Officials: At Least 13 Dead in China Port Explosions

BEIJING (AP) -
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, smoke and fire erupt into the night sky after an explosion in the Binhai New Area in north China’s Tianjin Municipality on Thursday.  (Yue Yuewei/Xinhua via AP)
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, smoke and fire erupt into the night sky after an explosion in the Binhai New Area in north China’s Tianjin Municipality on Thursday. (Yue Yuewei/Xinhua via AP)

Huge explosions sparked at a warehouse for dangerous material in the northeastern Chinese port of Tianjin have killed at least 13 people and injured hundreds, officials and state media outlets said Thursday.

The state-run Beijing News said on its website that between 300 and 400 people had been admitted to hospitals in the city, east of Beijing. It says the explosions shattered windows and knocked off doors of buildings in the area.

Police in Tianjin said at least seven people were killed. They said an initial blast took place late Wednesday night at shipping containers of a warehouse for hazardous materials owned by a logistics company.

The official Xinhua News agency said an initial explosion triggered other blasts at nearby businesses. The National Earthquake Bureau reported two major blasts before midnight, the first with an equivalent of three tons of TNT, and the second with the equivalent of 21 tons.

Photos apparently taken by bystanders and circulating online on microblogs show a gigantic fireball high in the sky, with a mushroom-cloud.

State broadcaster CCTV said six battalions of firefighters had brought the ensuing fire under control, although it was still burning. It said the firefighters were combing the neighborhood to look for further injured residents.