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15 Aug, 2015 07:35

Tianjin evacuates all residents within 3km of blast site following new explosions, fire

Tianjin evacuates all residents within 3km of blast site following new explosions, fire

A total of seven or eight explosions rocked the Tianjin blast site Saturday, prompting armed police to evacuate residents within a three-kilometer radius. Wednesday’s double blast at a chemical warehouse killed 112 people and injured more than 700.

Fires broke out at the blast site in the Chinese port city at 11:40 a.m. local time Saturday, according to state news agency Xinhua. Seven or eight blasts from three separate locations were reportedly heard at the scene.

Following the fire, police began evacuating those within a three-kilometer radius, saying they were acting on “orders from higher authorities,” Beijing News reported.

“No people or vehicle[s] [are] allowed within the area,” a police officer said.

The new explosions come just three days after two blasts at the chemical warehouse left at least 112 people dead, more than 700 injured, and thousands homeless. At least 21 firefighters are among the dead, making the disaster the deadliest for Chinese firefighters in more than 60 years.

One of the blasts was equivalent to 20 tons of TNT exploding.

The Chinese officials have not determined the full list of chemicals at the site, saying that further investigation is needed.

The chemicals stored in the warehouse could possibly include sodium cyanide, Gao Huaiyou, vice head of the Tianjin bureau of work safety, said at a press conference Saturday morning. At the same time Bao Jingling, chief engineer of the municipal bureau of environmental protection, claimed that 17 monitoring sites had not detected any cyanide.

The list of dangerous chemicals which were possibly stored at the site might also include potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate, Chinese media reported.

Meanwhile, relatives of those affected by the explosions are demanding answers. Family members of missing firefighters stormed a government news conference, insisting on information about their loved ones.