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Massive Blasts Rock Chinese City, Killing At Least 112 People

Pictures shared online and by state media show a gigantic fireball and huge explosions rocking the northeastern city of Tianjin. Officials said at least 112 people had died, while more than 500 have been hospitalized.

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Massive explosions rocked the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin, near Beijing, Wednesday.

#Breaking: Massive explosion rocks N China's #Tianjin, cause & casualties unclear yet (web sources) @BreakingNews

The blast killed at least 112 people. Another 95 were still missing as of Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

Eight-five of the missing people were firefighters, according to the AP.

China's Xinhua News also reported that 520 people were hospitalized after the blast.

A video filmed by a man speaking English showed how flames took over the sky with a series of explosions.

View this video on YouTube

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According to the official Weibo account of prominent Chinese newspaper NF People, the explosions began in a warehouse belonging to Ruihai Logistics, located in a seaside industrial zone.

NF People reported "dangerous cargo" was said to ignite in a fireball, leading other nearby factories to also explode.

According to the company's website, Ruihui Logistics is a freight-handling business that stores goods including compressed and liquefied gases, flammable liquids and solids, and other combustible materials.

The People's Daily newspaper also said the blasts were caused by explosive material in a factory container.

Tianjin Explosion: caused by explosive material in container at terminal in Binhai Dist. Injured rushed to hospital.

One video uploaded to YouTube shows a massive fireball in the distance before a flash of light and huge explosion rock the building. A huge plume of black smoke then trails into the sky.

View this video on YouTube

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"Crap! It's like sunrise!" the man filming the video can be heard saying.

"Fuck, it's going to be in the news tomorrow," he says right before the second large explosion. "Fuck, the building is shaking! Fuck, my window broke!"

The video description also states that nearby cities Hejian, Suning, and Jinzhou, all in Hebei Province, felt the "earthquake."

Other videos filmed from a further distance showed a similar scene.

View this video on YouTube

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View this video on YouTube

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According to the official Weibo account for the Tianjing Fire Department, the blaze began around 10:50 p.m. local time on Wednesday evening, before an explosion occurred some 40 minutes later.

Nine teams of firefighters had been sent to the scene, the department said, plus two teams of harbor safety guards.

The department said two of its firefighters were missing.

China Central Television (CCTV) reported a local hospital had been inundated with hundreds of casualties. Sina News said Tianjing Harbor Hospital had received between 300 and 400 injured residents, while hundreds of others have flocked to donate blood.

The official newswire Xinhua reported the number of casualties was not immediately known.

Shockwaves from #Tianjinblast felt kilometers away. Injured sent to hospital. http://t.co/yfckCsW6oX

The People's Daily said the blasts were felt more than six miles away.

#Breaking: Explosion happened in E China's Tianjin City Wed. Huge mushroom cloud seen. Quake felt 10 km away.

Sina News reported most media organizations had withdrawn from the blast site because of the danger. Authorities have also blocked access to the area.

One resident told the Beijing Youth newspaper that the streets were hazy and full of bare-foot people who had run from their homes. She told the paper that people were injuring themselves on the broken glass scattered on the roads.

A surveillance camera reportedly captured the moment of the blast.

#tianjin surveillance camera records the moment explosion smashed glass.

On Instagram, users shared photos and videos of the explosions.

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On Weibo, the official Chinese seismology department said the force from the first explosion measured magnitude 2.3 — the equivalent of three tons of TNT. The second explosion measured magnitude 2.9, or 21 tons of TNT.

By Friday morning, state media reported that the fires are almost put out. In total 44 people were saved from the debris.

David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.

Contact David Mack at david.mack@buzzfeed.com.

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