Initial findings point to a liquefied petroleum gas leak at a barbecue restaurant in Yinchuan, northwest China.
At least 31 people were killed by an explosion on Wednesday evening in a restaurant in the northwestern Chinese city of Yinchuan, the official China News Agency reported on Thursday.
“A leak of liquefied petroleum gas (…) caused an explosion during service at a barbecue restaurant,” the agency explained, citing the regional committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Seven other people are receiving medical treatment, one of them in “critical condition”, the agency added.
The explosion took place on Wednesday evening in the Fuyang barbecue restaurant, located in a residential area of downtown Yinchuan, the capital of the Ningxia autonomous region.
It occurred on the eve of the Dragon Boat Festival, a three-day celebration for which many Chinese gather with family and friends.
The Ministry of Emergency Management said that local fire and rescue services had dispatched more than 100 people and 20 vehicles to the scene.
Explosions and other fatal incidents are relatively common in China, where building industry standards are often not respected. What’s more, unauthorized construction is rife and, in the event of a fire, can make it difficult for people inside the building to escape.
In June, three people died after a series of explosions caused by fireworks hit residential buildings in Tianjin (north).
At least 17 others were killed by a fire in a restaurant in Changchun (North-East) in September, according to a death toll released by local authorities at the time.
In January 2022, an explosion caused by a suspected gas leak in a canteen claimed the lives of more than a dozen people in Chongqing (Southwest).
Finally, in June 2021, a gas explosion devastated a residential complex in Shiyan (central China), killing 25 people.