At Least 44 Dead After Explosions Rock Chinese City of Tianjin

Blasts happened at a warehouse that handles hazardous materials, officials said.

ByABC News
August 13, 2015, 1:25 AM

— -- Two explosions rocked the northern Chinese city of Tianjin late Wednesday, local time, killing dozens of people, according to authorities.

The first blast happened at 11:30 p.m., followed by a second explosion just 30 seconds later, according to a statement from the Tianjin Fire Department.

At least 44 people were killed, including 12 firefighters, with more than 500 others taken to nearby hospitals, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

First responders had been at the scene for nearly 30 minutes before the first explosion to fight a fire at the Ruihai Logistics warehouse at the Tianjin Container Port, the fire department said. Ruihai reportedly handles the transport of hazardous goods.

Multiple videos shared on social media show a mushroom cloud erupting into the sky with one of the quakes accompanying the blast.

Photos also shared on social media show shattered windows, cars destroyed by debris and some people covered in debris.

Other photos appear to show injured people, however, it is unclear how many injuries there are from the blast.

A hospital told People’s Daily, China they have already received 300 to 400 patients with injuries.

The first blast registered at a 2.3 magnitude quake and the second was larger at a 2.9 magnitude -- the equivalent of 21 tons of TNT -- according to the China Earthquake Network Centre.

More than 100 fire trucks are at the scene where the fire is currently contained, the fire department said. Two firefighters are missing and four are injured, however, that number is expected to climb, according to the department.

Numerous high-rise buildings are out of power and some have reported chemical gas leaks as a result of the blast, CCTV America reported.

Tianjin is China’s fifth biggest city, one of four municipalities run directly by China’s central government. More than 15 million people live in Tianjin Municipality. Binhai, where the explosion happened, is home to more than half of the world’s Fortune 500 companies. Tianjin Port, the fourth biggest facility in the world in terms of goods passing through, is the maritime gateway to Beijing.

ABC News' Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.