Restaurant explosion kills 31 in China

At least 31 people were killed when an explosion ripped through a restaurant in the northwestern Chinese city of Yinchuan, state media said Thursday.

“A leak of liquefied petroleum gas… caused an explosion during the operation of a barbecue restaurant,” state news agency Xinhua said of the Wednesday evening blast, citing the regional Communist Party committee.

Seven more people were receiving medical treatment, the agency said, with one
of them in a “critical condition”.

Two others had suffered severe burns, two had minor injuries and two had scratches caused by flying glass, Xinhua said.

Footage on state broadcaster CCTV showed more than a dozen firefighters working at the site as smoke poured out of a gaping hole in the restaurant’s facade.

Shards of glass and other debris littered the darkened street, which is also home to a number of other eateries and entertainment venues.

The explosion at about 8:40 pm (1240 GMT) on Wednesday took place at the Fuyang Barbecue Restaurant in a residential area of downtown Yinchuan, the capital of the Ningxia autonomous region.

It occurred on the eve of the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday, when many in China go out and socialise with friends.

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”, CCTV reported Thursday.

The Ministry of Emergency Management said local fire and rescue services dispatched more than 100 people and 20 vehicles to the scene in the wake of the blast.

Local authorities “immediately… demanded that all-out search and rescue efforts be organised, the wounded be properly treated and casualties be reduced as much as possible”, the ministry said. The rescue efforts had concluded by 4:00 am on Thursday, it said.

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