Two explosions—one said to equal 21 tons of TNT—shook China's port city of Tianjin at 11:30pm local time today, killing at least 44 people and injuring hundreds more. Chinese state media says a shipment of explosives caused the blasts in a container terminal, BBC News reports, while a TV news report attributed the disaster to an unsafe chemical, notes CNBC. "There was a big fireball and explosion," says an eyewitness who was out shopping. "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." (See a bystander video here.)
Severe-burn patients have flooded hospitals, and residents are being warned of possible hazardous gases, CBC News reports. The first blast was equivalent to 3 tons of TNT and the second blast to 21 tons, according to local media. Fires following the explosions apparently triggered smaller blasts around the city's port, and firefighting efforts have been suspended due to fears of toxic materials. Authorities say that at least nine firefighters have been killed and they've lost contact with 36 more, the Guardian reports.