At least one killed, 22 injured in northern China gas explosion

The blast took place near Beijing and is the latest in a string of incidents often blamed on lax safety standards.

At least one person has been killed and 22 injured after a suspected gas explosion at a restaurant in northern China.

The blast took place just before 8am (00:00 GMT) on Tuesday in the city of Sanhe, less than 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of the capital, Beijing.

The explosion was suspected to have been caused by a gas leak at a fried chicken shop, state broadcaster CCTV reported, adding that the injured had been taken to hospital.

China has seen a series of deadly accidents in recent months, often caused by lax safety standards and poor enforcement.

Rescue workers rushed to the scene of the Sanhe explosion, with the local Langfang fire service saying 36 emergency vehicles and 154 personnel had been dispatched.

Police cordoned off streets, and directed people away from the area.

“The fire is currently under effective control, and rescue work is being carried out urgently,” it said.

Clip from Dashcam showing people - inlcuding a man on a bike - rushing to escape after the explosion. There is a man on a bike, and lots of dust in the air.
Footage captured by a dashcam shows the panic after the explosion [Reuters]

Video clips on the Chinese social media platform Weibo showed destroyed building facades, many mangled cars, and glass littering surrounding streets. Some objects were on fire.

Another video on Chinese social media that was verified by the AFP news agency showed what appeared to be a building that had completely collapsed, and debris strewn across the street.

Last month, at least 15 people were killed and 44 injured in a fire at a residential building in the eastern city of Nanjing.

In January, dozens died after a fire broke out at a shop in the central city of Xinyu, with state news agency Xinhua reporting the blaze had been caused by the “illegal” use of fire by workers in the store’s basement.

That fire took place just days after a blaze at a school in central Henan province killed 13 schoolchildren as they slept in a dormitory.

Domestic media reports suggested the fire was caused by an electric heating device.

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