The Latest on China: White House sends condolences

AP News
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Posted: Aug 13, 2015 10:32 AM
The Latest on China: White House sends condolences

TIANJIN, China (AP) — The latest on the explosions in China's port city of Tianjin (all times local):

10:20 p.m.

The White House is sending its condolences to the Chinese people following explosions at a port warehouse that killed dozens.

White House spokesman Ned Price says the explosion is a tragedy. He says the United States is holding the victims and their families in its thoughts. He's also praising the first responders in China working to help the injured.

The White House reaction to the explosion comes while President Barack Obama is on vacation with his family in Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

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7:30 p.m.

The Tianjin government says the death toll has risen to 50 after the huge, fiery blasts at a port warehouse for hazardous chemicals.

Twelve of the dead were firefighters from among the more than 1,000 sent to fight the blaze.

The municipal government said 701 people were injured, including 71 in serious condition. It gave no figure for the missing.

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2:30 p.m.

The fire is mostly under control, and the Tianjin local government says further efforts to put out flames have been 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.

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1:45 p.m.

The 12 firefighters who are among the 44 dead came from more than 1,000 who were sent to fight the blaze set off by the explosions shortly before midnight, according to the official Xinhua News agency.

It says 520 people are being treated in hospitals, 66 of them seriously injured.

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1:35 p.m.

The official Xinhua News agency says the death toll has risen to 44, 12 of them firefighters.

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11 a.m.

As is customary during disasters, Chinese authorities are trying to keep a tight control over information.

Police are keeping journalists and bystanders away with a cordon as many as a few kilometers (miles) from the site. On China's popular microblogging platform of Weibo, some users complain that their posts about the blasts have been deleted, and the number of searchable posts on the disaster fluctuated, in a sign that authorities are manipulating or placing limits on the number of posts.

Photos taken by bystanders and circulating on microblogs show a gigantic fireball high in the sky, with a mushroom-cloud. Other photos on state media outlets showed a sea of fire that painted the night sky bright orange, with tall plumes of smoke.

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6 a.m.

There were scenes of devastation as dawn broke over the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin after huge explosions rocked the port city later Wednesday night. Windows were blown out of high rise apartments and office buildings were destroyed. A fireball appears to have swept through a parking lot of 1,000 new Renault cars, with the paint burned off and the cars left charred.

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5 a.m.

Government officials and state media say that the massive explosions at a warehouse for dangerous materials in the northeastern Chinese port of Tianjin killed at least 17 people and injured hundreds, including 32 in serious condition. The explosions late Wednesday knocked doors off buildings in the area and shattered windows up to several kilometers (miles) away.

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2:45 a.m.

Police in the Chinese port city of Tianjin say at least seven people have been killed in explosions sparked at a warehouse for dangerous materials.

The state-run Beijing News said on its website that that between 300 and 400 people had been admitted to hospitals in the city, east of Beijing. It says the explosions shattered windows and knocked off doors of buildings in the area.

Police in Tianjin said an initial blast took place late Wednesday night in shipping containers at a warehouse for hazardous materials owned by a logistics company.