Death toll in China warehouse explosion hits 56

Local authorities said Friday that death toll has risen to 56, including 21 firemen, from massive warehouse explosions that hit north China’s Tianjin Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, 721 others have been hospitalised, including 25 critically wounded and 33 in serious condition, the rescue headquarters said.

A total of 44 people were rescued, said Zhou Tian, head of the city’s fire department, after the two blasts happened at about 11:30pm Wednesday, following a fire in a warehouse for hazardous chemicals.

Firefighters have mostly extinguished the flames at the site, according to Zhou.

Initial estimates say the blasts affected 17,000 households, 1,700 enterprises and 675 commercial stores, said Zhang Ruigang, vice head of Tianjin Binhai New Area.

The city has opened 12 schools and three apartment buildings to accommodate 6,300 homeless residents, Zhang said.

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