China warehouse blasts toll shoots up to 158
The death toll has risen to 158 from a series of explosions that hit a chemical warehouse in northeastern China earlier this month, with 15 people still missing.
The official Xinhua news agency said the fatalities from the August 12 accident that rocked the port city of Tianjin included 94 firefighters and 11 police.
Hundreds more were injured at the warehouse, which was storing about 40 substances, including 500 tons of flammable materials and 700 tons of highly toxic substances, mainly sodium cyanide, at the time of the calamity. The blasts also caused varying degrees of damage to 17,000 residences.
China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate is investigating 11 officials over allegations of dereliction of duty and abuse of authority and Chinese police have placed 12 people under arrest for criminal offenses in connection with the explosions.
The officials include Ren Wudai, director of the Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission, Li Zhigang, former deputy director of the Tianjin Municipal Communication, Transportation and Port Administration Bureau, Feng Gang, director of the Port Administration Office of the Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission, and Gao Huaiyou, vice head of the Tianjin Bureau of Work Safety.
The 12 people detained include chairman Yu Xuewei, vice chairman Dong Shexuan, and three deputy general managers of Tianjin International Ruihai Logistics Co Ltd.