Witness captures massive China explosions on cell phone

A witness has managed to capture the two deadly explosions that tore through a busy port in northeast China and killed at least 54 people and injured about 700 others on Wednesday.

News Deskbdnews24.com
Published : 14 August 2015, 07:06 AM
Updated : 14 August 2015, 07:06 AM

With his cell phone, Daniel Van Duren captured whole incident from the roof of a apartment building. He and his friends were on the rooftop to watch shooting stars at that time.
 
The video, published on his YouTube account, showed the beginning and the end of the huge explosions originated from a warehouse where toxic chemicals and gas were stored in the port city of Tianjin.
 
International news agency Reuters also released the video on its website followed by other online newspapers and agencies.
 
Duren, a US citizen who lives in Tianjin, and his friends witnessed the explosions from the roof of the 33-storey building that was less than 1 kilometre from the blast site.
 
“It devastated our building along with many others. It was like watching a nuclear bomb go off in front of us,” Duren wrote on YouTube.
 
The explosions at the port, the world's 10th largest, were so big they were seen by satellites in space and registered on earthquake sensors, reported Reuters.
 
Vast areas of the port were devastated, crumpled shipping containers were thrown around like match sticks, hundreds of new cars were torched and port buildings left as burnt-out shells, witnesses told Reuters.
 
Quoting a 2014 assessment by environmental inspectors, it said the warehouse was designed to store dangerous and toxic chemicals.
 
Several thousand residents were moved to 10 nearby schools after apartment buildings and homes were damaged, mainly by shockwaves from the explosions, Xinhua news agency said. 

Duren and his friends could be hearing laughing at the beginning of the video which showed the warehouse was on fire first.
 
But they became concerned when the first explosion took place and the shockwave shook the building.
 
"Are we dangerous here?" one of his friends asked him at one point on the video. "Yeah, we're dangerous," said Duren.
 
Panicked, all of them climbed down all 33 flights of stairs after the second explosion.
 
Wednesday's blasts, which came roughly 30 seconds apart, sent shockwaves through apartment blocks kilometres away in the port city of 15 million people.
 
The blasts shattered windows in buildings and cars and knocked down walls in a 2-km radius around the site.
 
Two fires were still burning at the blast site late on Thursday, Xinhua reported.
 
Internet videos had showed fireballs shooting into the sky.
 
Another video posted on YouTube from what appeared to be another apartment building some distance from the scene showed the initial blast followed by the second, much bigger, explosion. Shockwaves hit that building seconds later.
 
Citing China Earthquake Networks Centre data, Xinhua said the first explosion was equivalent to 3 tonnes of TNT and the second to 21 tonnes of TNT.
 
Chinese investigators searched for clues on Friday to identify what caused the explosions.
 
Xinhua said several containers caught fire beforehand.
 
Industrial accidents are not uncommon in China following three decades of breakneck economic growth.
 
A blast at an auto parts factory in eastern China killed 75 people a year ago when a room filled with metal dust exploded.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher