Blasts rock Chinese city of Tianjin, at least 17 reported killed

Powerful explosions rocked the Chinese port city of Tianjin on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people, officials and state media said.

China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, said that at least 17 people were killed and that 32 were in critical condition. Chinese media reported that at least 300 people were injured.

Xinhua, the state news agency, reported that the blast occurred at around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at a warehouse storing “dangerous goods” and that the explosion and fire touched off other blasts nearby. Local media reported that the strongest was the equivalent of 21 tons of TNT.

Xinhua quoted people in nearby neighborhoods saying that their windows were blown out. Videos posted on social media showed great flashes of light in the night sky.

“I thought it was an earthquake, so I rushed downstairs without my shoes on,” Tianjin resident Zhang Siyu, whose home is several kilometers from the blast site, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “Only once I was outside did I realize it was an explosion. There was the huge fireball in the sky with thick clouds. Everybody could see it.”

Xinhua reported that firefighters were called to the warehouse at 10:50 p.m., and the explosion occurred around 40 minutes later. Four firefighters were injured, and two more were missing and “out of contact” as of early Thursday morning local time.

The state-run Beijing News reported that 300 to 400 people had been admitted to hospitals. Xinhua quoted the head of a nearby hospital saying that it had more than 50 patients, including from broken glass, and more on the way.

Tianjin is a city of about 15 million people in northeast China, about 100 miles outside Beijing.

The Associated Press contributed. This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

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Blasts rock Chinese city of Tianjin, at least 17 reported killed