China Business News reported that, at around 11:30 pm on August 13, two consecutive explosions occurred in warehouses containing hazardous chemical materials in Tianjin City, about a 30 minute train ride from Beijing. The explosions originated at a warehouse site owned by Tianjin Dongjiang Port Rui Hai International Logistics Co., a company that stores and transports dangerous chemicals.
Xinhua said that, as of 6:00 pm on August 13, 50 people had been confirmed dead among whom 17 were firefighters. More than 701 people have been hospitalized, 71 in critical condition and the death toll is expected to rise.
The cause of explosions remains unknown. The authorities cannot identify the source of the fire because the fire has not yet been completely put out. The fire continues due to the calcium carbide in the inflammable materials in the warehouses. Calcium carbide reacts violently with water and reactive chemicals, with a risk of explosion. When the first group of over 100 firefighters arrived at the scene, there had not yet been any explosions. They were not informed that there were hazardous materials that might explode if they came in contact with water. Firefighters then used water to put out the fire.
Source: China Business News, August 14, 2015