Death toll in blasts in Chinese port of Tianjin rises to 104
Chinese state media say the death toll from massive blasts in the port of Tianjin (tyan-jihn) has risen to 104.
The new toll comes as rescuers scour the warehouse district devastated by a fire and series of explosions late Wednesday at a warehouse for hazardous chemicals.
Rescuers also found an additional survivor Saturday as authorities evacuated much of the area to clean up dangerous chemical contamination. Several additional small explosions rocked the disaster zone as the clean-up continued.
The toll includes at least 21 firefighters – making the disaster the deadliest for Chinese firefighters in more than six decades. Several remain missing.
A total of 720 people were injured in the disaster in Tianjin, a key port and petrochemical hub east of Beijing.
Two Chinese news outlets, including the state-run The Paper, reported that the warehouse was storing 700 tons of sodium cyanide – 70 times more than it should have been holding at one time – and that authorities were rushing to clean it up.
Sodium cyanide is a toxic chemical that can form a flammable gas upon contact with water.