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China: Two killed in deadly restaurant blast in city near Beijing

Beijing [China]: At least two people were killed and 26 more were injured after a massive blast, suspected to be a gas explosion, ripped through a residential neighbourhood in northern China on Wednesday, CNN reported.

The powerful blast occurred just before 8 am (local time) at a ground-floor restaurant in a residential area of Sanhe City, Hebei Province, east of the capital Beijing, as reported by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

It killed at least two people, injured 26 others, and destroyed the four-story building.

The Chinese authorities have "basically determined" the explosion was caused by a gas leak, though they have not identified the specific cause or location of the blast, the broadcaster reported.

Footage circulating on the Chinese social media site Weibo showed a large fireball exploding from a multi-story building, destroying its walls and ceiling and sending huge plumes of smoke into the sky.

At least three buildings were severely damaged, with one left in a skeletal state.

Firefighters were seen putting out the blaze, surrounded by crushed cars and piles of debris, CNN reported, citing videos and photos on Weibo.
Local residents, while sharing their experience on social media, said they heard a loud bang in the early morning and felt their buildings trembling.

Buildings across the street from the blast site were also impacted, with glass shattered and shop signs damaged, as footage aired on CCTV showed. By Wednesday afternoon, the fire had been put out and residents living within 500 meters (1,640 feet) of the site had been evacuated.
Notably, China has seen a series of deadly incidents caused by gas leaks in recent years, according to CNN.

Last June, a gas explosion at a barbecue restaurant in northwest Ningxia region killed 31 people. Following that blast, Chinese market regulators issued detailed guidelines on the use of gas appliances and cookers to avoid safety risks.

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