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2021-10-21 04:20:59

Update: This story has been updated with the latest developments.

At least four people have died after a suspected gas explosion ripped through shops and buildings early Thursday in the city of Shenyang in China’s northeast Liaoning province, according to local authorities. 

The blast occurred around 8:20 a.m. at a local barbecue restaurant in the city’s Heping District. Nearly 50 people injured in the explosion were sent to the hospital for medical treatment.

Dashcam footage from a car driving toward the site captured the explosion, with smoke billowing from the blast site.

Other video footage circulating online showed widespread destruction from the blast, with one multi-story building being severely damaged. A nearby street was seen covered in debris, with some nearby parked cars also wrecked.

“We didn’t see the blast, but felt the building shake,” said a resident surnamed Song, who lives two blocks away from the explosion site. He told Sixth Tone that their apartment shook for 20 seconds and “thought it was an earthquake.”

Several nearby residential buildings, as well as supermarkets and schools, have reported power outages following the blast, according to media reports.

The restaurant’s gas supply was restored Thursday morning after being cut off for pipeline repairs the previous night, according to state broadcaster China Central Television. Local authorities said they’re investigating the cause of the explosion.

In June, a similar accident caused by a gas pipeline explosion tore through a local market in the city of Shiyan in the central Hubei province, killing 26 people and injuring 138 others. Eleven employees from the local unit of China Gas Holdings were held accountable for the incident, with eight of them detained by police for dereliction of duty.

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: Firefighters inspect the explosion site in Shenyang, Liaoning province, Oct. 21, 2021. From @辽宁消防 on Weibo)