China: Death toll from warehouse blasts rises to 158

1st Sep 2015
China: Death toll from warehouse blasts rises to 158
BEIJING (AA): The death toll from fatal explosions at a warehouse in a northern Chinese port city has risen to 158 while 15 people remain missing, with firefighters accounting for the majority of the victims.

State news agency Xinhua cited rescue authorities Monday as saying that among the dead were 94 firefighters, 53 civilians and 11 police officers, while 10 firefighters and five civilians constituted those missing.

The warehouse in Tianjin — owned by Rui Hai International Logistics Co. – had been storing hundreds of tons of hazardous chemicals when the explosions occurred Aug. 12, damaging two nearby residential compounds and scorching over 3,000 new vehicles in a parking area.

Around 40 substances, including sodium cyanide, potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate were being kept at the site. Inflammable materials accounted for 500 tons and highly toxic substances for 700 tons.

As of Sunday, water samples from inside the exclusion zone revealed high levels of cyanide up to 20 times the level officially considered safe, according to Xinhua.

Air samples from outside the exclusion zone however were not found to contain excessive levels of pollutants.

At least 11 officials and port executives have been accused of neglecting the transportation, management and storage of dangerous chemicals following the incident.

The Supreme People’s Procuratorate said Thursday that specific charges included: issuing illegal business licenses, illegally approving the storage of dangerous chemicals, opening a green way to an unqualified company and reportedly indulging in illegal activities.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Public Security, police have also detained 12 suspects in relation to the illegal storing of dangerous materials at the warehouse.

Author: Ekip
[Photo:China: warehouse-explosion in Tianjin 13 Aug 2015. Photo: Mahmut-Atanur/AA]

September 1, 2015

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