Tuesday 21 November 2017

Firefighter pulled from wreckage of Tianjin explosions after 32-hour ordeal

A view of a damaged room near the site of the explosions at the Binhai new district, Tianjin, China REUTERS/Jason Lee
A view of a damaged room near the site of the explosions at the Binhai new district, Tianjin, China REUTERS/Jason Lee

Rescuers have pulled out a firefighter trapped for 32 hours after responding to the massive explosions in Tianjin.

Meanwhile authorities moved forward gingerly in dealing with a fire still smouldering amid potentially dangerous chemicals.

The two explosions late on Wednesday at the Chinese port city - one of them the equivalent of 21 tons of TNT - killed at least 50 people and injured more than 700.

The blasts originated at shipping containers owned by a logistics company authorised to handle hazardous material and struck a mostly non-residential industrial area.

The death toll included 17 firefighters sent in after the first blast, and would have been much higher in a more populated area. Other firefighters also went missing while responding to the blasts, though authorities have not clarified how many.

One firefighter was pulled from the zone at about dawn and brought to a hospital, where he was being treated for face, chest and foot injuries, state broadcaster CCTV said.

People walk on a street as they evacuate their residences following explosions in northeastern China's Tianjin municipality, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Chinese state media reported huge explosions at the Tianjin port late Wednesday. (Chinatopix Via AP)
People walk on a street as they evacuate their residences following explosions in northeastern China's Tianjin municipality, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Chinese state media reported huge explosions at the Tianjin port late Wednesday. (Chinatopix Via AP)
Smoke rise from container boxes near the site of the explosions at the Binhai new district, Tianjin, August 13, 2015. Two huge explosions tore through an industrial area where toxic chemicals and gas were stored in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin, killing at least 44 people, including at least a dozen fire fighters, officials and state media said on Thursday. REUTERS/Jason Lee
An injured man talks on his mobile phone at the site of the explosions at the Binhai new district in Tianjin August 13, 2015. Two huge explosions tore through an industrial area where toxic chemicals and gas were stored in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin, killing at least 44 people, including at least a dozen fire fighters, officials and state media said on Thursday. REUTERS/Jason Lee
A man with his wounds bandaged rest outside a hospital receiving victims of an explosion in northeastern China's Tianjin municipality, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Huge explosions in the warehouse district sent up massive fireballs that turned the night sky into day in the Chinese port city of Tianjin, officials and witnesses said Thursday. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
People evacuated from residential area look at debris that landed and damaged the road about two kilometres from the explosion site in Binhai new district in Tianjin, China August 13, 2015. The death toll from two huge explosions that tore through an industrial area in the northeastern Chinese port of Tianjin more than doubled to 44, the official Xinhua news agency said on Thursday. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
A man looks at smoke pluming from the explosion site in Binhai new district in Tianjin, China August 13, 2015. Two huge explosions tore through an industrial area where toxic chemicals and gas were stored in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin, killing at least 44 people, including at least a dozen fire fighters, officials and state media said on Thursday. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Soldiers rest under the bridge near the explosion site takes pictures of pluming smoke in Binhai new district in Tianjin, China August 13, 2015.Two huge explosions tore through an industrial area where toxic chemicals and gas were stored in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin, killing at least 44 people, including at least a dozen fire fighters, officials and state media said on Thursday. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
A general view shows smoke rising from the debris near damaged vehicles after the explosions at the Binhai new district in Tianjin, China, August 13, 2015. The death toll from two huge explosions that tore through an industrial area in the northeastern Chinese port of Tianjin more than doubled to 44, the official Xinhua news agency said on Thursday. REUTERS/Stringer
A firefighter reacts as he receives treatment at a hospital after the explosions at the Binhai new district in Tianjin, China, August 13, 2015. The death toll from two huge explosions that tore through an industrial area in the northeastern Chinese port of Tianjin more than doubled to 44, the official Xinhua news agency said on Thursday. REUTERS/China Daily
A firefighter works at the site near damaged vehicles as smoke rises from the debris after the explosions at the Binhai new district in Tianjin, China, August 13, 2015. Two massive explosions caused by flammable goods ripped through an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring as many as 400, official Chinese media reported. REUTERS/China Daily
A firefighter watches smoke rising from a highway next to an ambulance, near the site of the explosions at the Binhai new district, Tianjin, August 13, 2015. Two massive explosions caused by flammable goods ripped through an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring around 400, official Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Jason Lee
Firefighter's truck and other rescue vehicles are pictured as smoke rises among shipping containers after explosions at Binhai new district in Tianjin, China, August 13, 2015. Two massive explosions caused by flammable goods ripped through an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring as many as 400, official Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Stringer
Damaged vehicles are seen near the site of the explosions at the Binhai new district, Tianjin, August 13, 2015. Two massive explosions caused by flammable goods ripped through an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring around 400, official Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Jason Lee
Smoke rises from the site of the explosions at the Binhai new district, Tianjin, August 13, 2015. Two massive explosions caused by flammable goods ripped through an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring around 400, official Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Jason Lee
A man talks on his mobile phone as he walks past damaged vehicles under bridges close to the site of the explosions at Binhai new district in Tianjin August 13, 2015. Two massive explosions caused by flammable goods ripped through an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring around 400, official Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Stringer
Smoke rises over the site of the explosions at the Binhai new district in Tianjin August 13, 2015. Two massive explosions caused by flammable goods ripped through an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring around 400, official Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Jason Lee
A man who was injured following the massive explosions at the Binhai new district in Tianjin receives medical treatment at a hospital, August 13, 2015. Two massive explosions caused by flammable goods ripped through an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring as many as 400, official Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Stringer
A man who was injured following the massive explosions at the Binhai new district in Tianjin receives medical treatment at a hospital, August 13, 2015. Two massive explosions caused by flammable goods ripped through an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring around 400, official Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Stringer
Damaged cars are seen as smoke rises from the debris after the explosions at the Binhai new district in Tianjin, China, August 13, 2015. Two massive explosions caused by flammable goods ripped through an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring as many as 400, official Chinese media reported. REUTERS/China Daily
A man talks on his mobile phone as he walks past damaged vehicles under bridges close to the site of the explosions at Binhai new district in Tianjin August 13, 2015. Two massive explosions caused by flammable goods ripped through an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring around 400, official Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Stringer
Damaged vehicles are seen under bridges close to the site of the explosions at Binhai new district, Tianjin, August 13, 2015. Two massive explosions caused by flammable goods ripped through an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring around 400, official Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Stringer
Firefighter's trucks are pictured in front of heavy smoke rising behind shipping containers after blasts at Binhai new district in Tianjin municipality, China, August 13, 2015. Huge explosions hit an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, triggering a blast wave felt kilometers away and injuring scores of people, Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Stringer
A damaged vehicle is seen near the site of the blasts at Binhai new district in Tianjin municipality, China, August 13, 2015. Huge explosions hit an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, triggering a blast wave felt kilometers (miles) away and injuring scores of people, Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Stringer
Rescuers are seen in a van near the site of the blasts at Binhai new district in Tianjin municipality, China, August 13, 2015. Huge explosions hit an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, triggering a blast wave felt kilometers away and injuring scores of people, Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Stringer
Vehicles are seen burning after blasts at Binhai new district in Tianjin municipality, China, August 13, 2015. Huge explosions hit an industrial area in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin late on Wednesday, triggering a blast wave felt kilometers away and injuring scores of people, Chinese media reported. REUTERS/Stringer

"Forces from all sides are searching for the (remaining) missing firefighters," Tianjin Fire Department head Zhou Tian said.

Ruihai International Logistics handled chemicals ranging from flammable gases and liquids including compressed natural gas and ethyl acetate to toxic chemicals like sodium cyanide and toluene diisocyanate.

But the warehouse was a transit point and authorities do not have a clear picture of what was there at the time of the blasts. Records at the site were destroyed in the disaster, said Gao Huiyou, deputy director of occupational safety in Tianjin.

Mr Zhou said further firefighting efforts must go slow because of the potentially complex mix of chemicals at the site

"Many types of different materials with different characteristics are mixed together and could at any time result in a chemical reaction or explosion," he said.

Deformed containers pile up at the site of the Tianjin explosions (AP)
Deformed containers pile up at the site of the Tianjin explosions (AP)

Press Association

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News