Massive explosions hit a warehouse storing “dangerous goods” on Wednesday in China's northern port city of Tianjin, killing at least 44 people and injuring at least 400, Chinese state media announced.
State broadcaster China Central Television reported the blasts occurred when some explosives blew up at an industrial area at about 11:30pm local time (1630 GMT).
A second explosion followed the first, 30 seconds later, while it is said that shockwaves could be felt several kilometres away from Tianjin.
The China Earthquake Networks Centre posted on its website that the magnitude of the first explosion was equal to the explosion of three tons of TNT, while the second was equal to 21 tons.
Photos and videos showing the flames and damage to buildings following the blasts quickly spread through social media.
Residents in nearby districts were reported to have said the blast had shattered the windows of many homes.
Ms Yang, an eyewitness who was out shopping outside at the time of the explosion, told local media that the explosion took place “suddenly from behind” and that it was in the form of a “big fireball.”
"At the time of the explosion the ground was shaking fiercely, nearby cars and buildings were shaking, a few buildings' glass all broke and everyone started to run," she added.
Several tower blocks near the port area were left without power, Chinese state broadcaster, CCTV said.
CCTV also added there was concern that winds in the area could cause another blast and that police were focusing on rescue operations other than putting out the fire so that all chemicals would burn up completely to prevent such an occurrence to take place again.