Four new fires at China blast site

FOUR new fires have broken out at the site where two huge blasts last week killed 116 people, Chinese state media reported Friday soon after officials said safety hazards were found at almost 70 percent of firms handling dangerous chemicals in Beijing.

The explosions in a warehouse storing dangerous chemicals devastated an industrial park in the northeastern port city of Tianjin late on August 12.

More than 700 people were injured and thousands were evacuated because of the risk posed by chemicals stored at the site.

The official Xinhua news agency said Friday rescue crews were rushing to the site after four new fires broke out. It said one of the “combustion points” was in a logistics site for automobiles near last week’s blasts.

The other three were within the central blast area, it said without giving any explanation of the cause of the fires.

The news agency also said the death toll rose to 116 on Friday from a previously reported 114, and 60 people were still missing.

State authorities have confirmed that more than 700 tonnes of the deadly chemical sodium cyanide were stored at the Tianjin warehouse that blew up.

Nationwide inspections of facilities handling dangerous chemicals and explosives were ordered by China’s State Council after the blasts last week.

More than 100 chemical firms across seven provinces have been told to suspend operations or shut down due to safety violations in the recent days, announcements by regional governments show.

That includes 19 companies in Hubei province, 26 firms in Anqing city in the southeastern province of Anhui, two in the capital, Beijing, and 39 in Zhejiang province. -Reuters.

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