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China Explosion Video: Shocking Footage Of Blast Tearing Through Port City Of Tianjin

13/08/2015 09:14 BST | Updated 13/08/2015 13:59 BST

The north-eastern Chinese city of Tianjin has been reduced to a smouldering ruin after a massive explosion left at least 50 dead and 500 people injured.

Shocking footage has captured the moments that the blast shattered windows and knocked doors off of buildings in the area.

The initial explosion apparently triggered at least one further blast. China's National Earthquake Bureau registered the force of the first blast as being equivalent to three tonnes of TNT going off, and the second with the equivalent of 21 tonnes.

Twelve firefighters lost their lives as they battled to contain the blaze.

The warehouse was full of hazardous materials, owned by Ruihai Logistics, who state they are properly approved to handle such materials. The companies website has since been removed from cyberspace.

Drone footage captured the sheer scale of the aftermath of the explosion:

State media said senior management of the company had been detained by authorities, and that President Xi Jinping has demanded severe punishment for anyone found responsible for the explosions.

The blasts turned buildings in the immediate vicinity into charred, skeletal shells and shattered windows up to several miles away.

Tianjin resident Zhang Siyu told the Associated Press: "I thought it was an earthquake, so I rushed downstairs without my shoes on.

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Rows of vehicle in a nearby car park blaze in the aftermath of the explosion

"Only once I was outside did I realise it was an explosion. There was the huge fireball in the sky with thick clouds. Everybody could see it.

Zhang said she could see wounded people weeping. She said she did not see anyone who had been killed, but "I could feel death."

Another video captured fireballs hurtling through the city:

There was no indication of what caused the blasts, however Beijing News said there was some unidentified yellow foam on the ground at the site, although it was not clear if this was contamination or part of the fire-fighting efforts.

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The ensuing fire was mostly under control by morning, and the Tianjin local government said further firefighting was suspended on orders of the central government so that a team of chemical experts can assess hazardous materials on site, dangers to the environment and how best to proceed with putting out the rest of the fire.

Locals spoke out in fear and in shock, after the huge fire destroyed areas of their city:

Truck driver Zhao Zhencheng, who spent the night in the cab of his truck after the blasts, told the Associated Press: "It was like what we were told a nuclear bomb would be like.

"I've never even thought I'd see such a thing. It was terrifying, but also beautiful."

The US Geological Survey which has equipment in Beijing (around 100 miles away), estimated the Tianjin blasts at a magnitude of 2 or 3 on the Richter scale.

Tianjin, with a population of about 15 million, is about 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Beijing on the Bohai Sea and is one of the country's major ports.

It is one of China's more modern cities and is connected to the capital by a high speed rail line.

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