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Friday, August 21, 2015, 17:18

Four new fires break out at Tianjin blast site

By Xinhua
Four new fires break out at Tianjin blast site

In this photo taken on Aug 15, 2015, f ire fighters extinguish a fire at the warehouse explosion site in Tianjin, north China . (Xinhua / Jin Liwang)

TIANJIN - Firefighters assisted by soldiers and police officers are racing to put out four new fires which broke out on Friday morning in the area damaged by last week's explosions in Tianjin.

One of the fires began in what the emergency workers called the "tomb of cars," the logistics park in which at least 3,000 automobiles were torched in the two blasts that occurred in a warehouse in the eastern Chinese port city last Wednesday. They suspect the blaze may have been caused by combustible material in the fuel tanks of the cars.

The other three fires are in the central blast zone.

New fires have kept arising from the blast site, which is scattered with smoldering chemicals and flammable substances.

More than 4,460 soldiers and armed police officers have been called in to collect thousands of tons of dangerous chemicals and clean the area damaged by the blasts, said Liao Keduo, top military commander of the search and cleanup operation.

The warehouse was storing about 40 substances including around 1,300 tons of oxide compounds, mainly potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate; 500 tons of inflammable materials, consisting of metallic sodium and magnesium; and 700 tons of highly toxic substances, mainly sodium cyanide.

The death toll of the blasts stands at 116, and another 60 people are missing. About 700 were hospitalized.

The blasts in Tianjin, the world's fourth-largest port in terms of throughput, have prompted a national safety review.

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