The state broadcaster CCTV reported that the blast — which created a huge mushroom cloud and triggered a quake that could be felt up to 6 miles away — happened at Tianjin Dongjiang Port Rui Hai International Logistics Co. Ltd., which handles the transport of hazardous goods.
At least 17 people are confirmed dead and 300 people were injured in the blast, according to officials and Chinese media outlets. More injuries are expected.
CCTV reported that there had been two explosions within 30 seconds of each other and that about 100 fire trucks had been sent to the scene.
A video seems to indicate that the explosion was powerful enough to knock over a camera a good distance away.
Tianjin is a major port and industrial city located 72 miles southeast of the capital of Beijing.
The Chinese social-media site SinaWeibo.com has posted apparent photos of the aftermath:
Two people recorded the explosion from their apartment.
Here’s a translation:
Person 1: What exploded? The sky is lit up.
Person 2: Where is that?
Person 1: Don’t know. You think it will be on the news tomorrow?
Person 1: Wow! Everything is shaking. Is it a nuclear bomb!? The windows on the building have shattered.
Person 1: The explosion is so violent. I hope our building doesn’t collapse.
Person 2: Puts your clothes on. Let’s hope our building doesn’t collapse.
Person 1: That’s about it right? The explosions should be over with.
Images are being tweeted of people who appear to have been injured in the blast:
Dozens of people have gathered around the local hospital waiting for news.
Benjamin Zhang and Reuters contributed to this report.