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Cause of Massive Chinese Explosions Still Unknown

Cause of Massive Chinese Explosions Still Unknown

Residents of Tianjin, China have been left shocked and injured after two massive chemical blasts went off in the port city.

The explosions were caused by combusting hazardous chemicals stored in warehouses, but it remains unclear what made the chemicals react and explode.

Warehouses, apartment complexes, and businesses in Tianjin are in ruins and shattered glass is strewn across the city.

Over 500 Tianjin residents have been injured in the blasts and hospitalized. 50 are confirmed dead, according to a CNN report, including 12 firefighters who were working to extinguish the fires that blazed along the city’s riverfront industrial district.

Local authorities suspended further effort from firefighters, fearing the uncertain nature of the chemicals that caused the explosions. 

The environmental group Greenpeace released a statement, warning that the danger may not be over.

“According to the Tianjin Tanggu Environmental Monitoring Station, hazardous chemicals stored by the company concerned include sodium cyanide (NaCN), toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and calcium carbide (CaC2), all of which pose direct threats to human health on contact. NaCN in particular is highly toxic. Ca(C2) and TDI react violently with water and reactive chemicals, with risk of explosion. This will present a challenge for firefighting and, with rain forecast for tomorrow, is a major hazard," Greenpeace stated.

While authorities attempt to determine the nature of the explosions in an effort to prevent the occurrence of further danger, the injured and shocked residents of Tianjin continue to cope with the aftermath of the blasts.

Vafa Anderson, a teacher at an international school in the city stated, "The shock wave just blew through our apartment. It blew out the glass, it blew out the doors, it knocked out the power." Anderson and his wife both suffered scratches and cuts from glass shards.

Many other residents waited outside the hospital for news of loved ones who were affected by the explosions.

Tianjin is southeast of Beijing and has a population of more than 13 million.

Publication date: August 13, 2015