According to reports from state media on Thursday, at least 31 people were killed after an explosion triggered by a gas leak tore through a restaurant in the city of Yinchuan located in China’s far northwestern region.
The explosion took place on the night before the three-day festival known as the Dragon Boat Festival, which is a time when many people in China go out and socialize with their friends.
More than a dozen firemen could be seen in footage carried by the state broadcaster CCTV working at the scene as smoke billowed out of a big hole in the restaurant’s exterior.
The roadway, which was darkened, was covered with shards of glass and other debris. This street is also home to a number of other restaurants and entertainment facilities.
As a result of the explosion, the authorities have reportedly detained nine persons, including the “owner, shareholders, and staff” of the restaurant, and “their assets have been frozen,” according to CCTV.
“A leak of liquefied petroleum gas…caused an explosion during the operation of a barbecue restaurant,” the provincial Communist Party committee was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency Xinhua on the accident that occurred in the evening of Wednesday.
According to the organization, seven further persons were undergoing medical care, with one of them being described as being in “critical condition.”
According to Xinhua, two other people received serious burns, two other people had mild injuries, and two more people had scrapes caused by flying glass.
The state-backed media site The Paper said, citing unidentified authorities participating in the rescue attempt, that the victims included high school students as well as pensioners. Many of the victims perished as a result of asphyxia, which was likely caused by smoke inhalation. Among the victims were also children.
The incident occurred at around 8:40 pm (12:40 GMT) on Wednesday at the Fuyang Barbecue Restaurant, which is located in a residential neighborhood in the downtown district of Yinchuan, which is the capital of the Ningxia autonomous province.
– Xi orders probe –
According to Xinhua, Chinese President Xi Jinping “demanded all-out efforts in treating the wounded and the strengthening of safety supervision and management in key industries and fields to effectively protect people’s lives and property,” Xinhua said on Thursday. Xi Jinping’s remarks came after a series of explosions and fires in China’s capital city of Beijing.
According to the statement made by the state news agency, Xi “encouraged efforts to ascertain the cause of the accident as soon as possible and hold the relevant people accountable in accordance with the law.”
“All regions and related departments should screen for and rectify all types of risks and hidden dangers,” Xi was cited as saying by Xinhua. “This applies to both obvious and hidden threats.”
Following the explosion, the Ministry of Emergency Management said that local fire and rescue agencies had sent more than one hundred individuals and twenty vehicles to the location to assist with the situation.
According to the statement made by the ministry, the local authorities “immediately… demanded that all-out search and rescue efforts be organized, the wounded be properly treated, and casualties be reduced as much as possible.”
It was reported that all operations to rescue people had been finished by 4:00 am on Thursday.
– Scenes of mayhem – with one video that was shared on social media, two shirtless guys could be seen crouched and standing confused on a busy roadway that was blasted with shattered glass. Their pants were torn, and their upper bodies were coated with dust.
Another video showed emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks and ambulances, racing through the neighborhood while flashing their red and blue lights and sounding their sirens.
photographs shared on social media showed scores of people congregating on the opposite side of the street behind an emergency barrier. Some of the individuals in the photographs were clearly worried.
The AFP was able to geolocate the video by comparing the structures in the clips to footage of the aftermath of the explosion that was shown on official TV.
Explosions and other occurrences that result in fatalities are quite regular in China, a country in which building standards are often and inconsistently implemented, and where extensive illegal construction can make it difficult for people to escape from buildings that are on fire.
This month, three people were murdered after a series of explosions produced by fireworks hit residential structures in the city of Tianjin, which is located in the northern part of China.
According to comments made by local officials at the time of the incident, at least 17 individuals lost their lives in a fire that occurred at a restaurant in the city of Changchun in the northeastern region of China in September of last year.
More than a dozen people were killed when a building in the city of Chongqing collapsed in January 2022 as a result of an explosion that was believed to have been caused by a gas leak.
And in June of 2021, a gas explosion in Shiyan, which was located in the province of Hubei, killed 25 people when it tore through a residential compound and also hit a bustling two-story structure that was filled with shoppers.