Trapped Firefighter Saved 32 Hours After Tianjin Blasts

Fire still smoldering as cause investigated
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2015 4:18 AM CDT
Trapped Firefighter Saved 32 Hours After Tianjin Blasts
Workers walk near a building with windows shattered by the shock wave in Tianjin.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Some good news amid the devastation caused by Wednesday night's massive explosions in Tianjin: Rescuers have freed a 19-year-old firefighter who was trapped in wreckage for 32 hours after the enormous blasts shook a district in the Chinese city, the AP reports. At least 17 of his colleagues are included in a death toll that authorities say has now reached 54, and which the New York Times reports would have been much higher if the blasts had happened during the day—or if winds had blown toxic fumes over the city of 15 million instead of out to sea. According to state media, 66 firefighters are among the more than 700 people injured by the blasts, at least 71 of them seriously. The military has sent in hundreds of specialists to investigate.

As some fires in the district still smolder, officials are investigating the cause of the blasts at a warehouse that handles hazardous materials, reports Reuters. According to state media, several containers were on fire inside the warehouse before the blasts, and experts suspect firefighters may have sprayed water on the toxic chemical calcium carbide, which would cause an explosive reaction. More than 6,000 people have been displaced by the disaster, the Guardian reports. Residents are lining up to donate blood to the injured, though many are also criticizing the government's response and its failure to keep them informed. For much of yesterday, the city's main news channel played Korean soap operas, the Times notes. (More China stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.