Major gas explosion in central China kills 12, wounds 140, forces 900 residents to evacuate

At least twelve people were killed in a major gas explosion in central China on Sunday, state media reported.

The blast took place at dawn in the Zhangwan district of Shiyan city in Hubei province, according to local authorities.

Authorities rescued 138 from the area, including 37 with serious injuries, CCTV reported.

The city’s municipal office initially said “many” people were trapped after the incident.

Images circulating on social media, which appeared to be from the scene, showed rescue workers in orange jumpsuits working through the wreckage of flattened houses.

Around 900 residents in the area have been evacuated as surrounding buildings may have been damaged by the blast, the city government said.

About 2,000 rescue workers have been deployed on the site.

Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered officials to check for safety risks ahead of the Chinese Communist Party’s 100th anniversary, the state-owned radio broadcaster reported Sunday, following a deadly gas explosion in Hubei province.

Xi told local authorities to “improve political sensitivity” and thoroughly investigate safety risks throughout the country to “create a good atmosphere” for the Party’s anniversary, according to China National Radio.