Guy Caught Incredible Footage of Terrifying Tianjin Blasts

Calif. native says explosions he witnessed were like a 'small nuclear bomb going off'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2015 9:21 AM CDT

A California native who lives in Tianjin was trying to record the Perseid meteor shower when a series of massive explosions erupted Wednesday night, devastating the city, killing dozens, and injuring hundreds. Daniel Van Duren tells NBC News he and his girlfriend, Ying, witnessed what he says looked like "a small nuclear bomb going off on my face" as they stared at the scene unfolding before them.

In Van Duren's cellphone video, taken from his 34-story apartment building about a mile from where the blasts took place, you can hear their initial bewilderment at what's causing the explosions (Ying speculates it's a gas station blast) turn to fear as the explosions get cataclysmically larger and more frightening. Van Duren lets loose a string of astonished (bleeped-out) obscenities as the sky lights up with sparks and fireballs, while Ying wonders aloud, "Are we dangerous here?" before they decide to get out of the building. (Some good news: A 19-year-old was saved from the wreckage 32 hours after the blast.)

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