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China: Two killed, many injured in restaurant explosion

A suspected gas leak explosion at a building in northern China has killed at least two people and injured 26 more, according to officials.

An explosion ripped through a restaurant in┬áChina’s Hebei province, killing two people and injuring 26 more, state media reported Wednesday.

The explosion occurred around 8 a.m. (0000 GMT) Wednesday in Sanhe, a city about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the capital Beijing, state broadcaster CCTV News reported.

The injured were taken to the hospital, CCTV said. The explosion occurred at a fried chicken restaurant and is suspected to have been caused by a gas leak, the broadcaster reported.

Devastating explosion

Earlier, the local Langfang fire department said it had sent 36 vehicles and 154 people to the scene, adding that the fire was under control and rescue efforts were underway.

Videos posted on social media platform Weibo showed a large orange fireball over the site. It was followed by thick plumes of gray smoke.

The video clips showed shattered building facades, dozens of mangled cars, and glass scattered on surrounding streets. Some objects were burning.

Deadly accidents in China

Explosions and other deadly accidents are a common occurrence in China due to lax safety standards and a lack of enforcement.

Last month, a fire at an apartment building in the eastern city of Nanjing killed at least 15 people and injured 44.

In January, dozens died after a fire broke out at a shop in the central city of Xinyu, with the state news agency Xinhua reporting that the blaze was caused by the “illegal” use of fire by workers in the shop’s basement.

That same month, more than a dozen people were killed when a dormitory at a school in central China went up in flames.

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