Deadly China restaurant blast rocks city near Beijing

Hong Kong CNNA deadly suspected gas explosion ripped through a residential neighborhood in northern China on Wednesday, leaving a scene of devastation.

The powerful blast occurred just before 8 a.m. at a ground-floor restaurant in a residential area of Sanhe city, Hebei province, east of the capital Beijing, state broadcaster CCTV said.

It killed at least two people, injured 26 others, and destroyed the four-story building, according to CCTV.

Authorities have “basically determined” the explosion was caused by a gas leak, though they have not identified the specific cause or location of the blast, the broadcaster reported.

The dramatic blast and its aftermath were captured in footage circulating on Chinese social media site Weibo, which showed a large fireball exploding from a multistory building, destroying its walls and ceiling and sending huge plumes of smoke into the sky.


At least three buildings were severely damaged, with one left in a skeletal state. Firefighters were seen putting out the blaze, surrounded by crushed cars and piles of debris, according to videos and photos on Weibo.

Local residents said on social media they heard a loud bang in the early morning and felt their buildings trembling.

Buildings across the street from the blast site were also impacted, with glass shattered and shop signs damaged, footage aired on CCTV showed.

By Wednesday afternoon, the fire had been put out and residents living within 500 meters (1,640 feet) of the site had been evacuated, CCTV said.

China has seen a series of deadly incidents caused by gas leaks in recent years.

Last June, a gas explosion at a barbecue restaurant in northwest Ningxia region killed 31 people. Following that blast, Chinese market regulators issued detailed guidelines on the use of gas appliances and cookers to avoid safety risks.