Illegal detonators are thought to have triggered an explosion in a residential building of Baoding City in north China's Hebei Province which left three people dead and 30 others injured, local police said yesterday.
Police found home-made detonator shells at the site of the explosion, a six-story building in Dongwuyao Village. Detonator shells and materials of explosives were also discovered in the building's basement.
Police said they suspected that the illegal manufacturing and storage of detonators might have caused Saturday afternoon's explosion.
The injured were being treated in hospital.
Part of the interior of Building No. 18 collapsed after the blast at around 3pm at the Yaoheningyuan Residential Community.
Witnesses said heavy smoke could be seen following the explosion, which shattered the windows of buildings up to 200 meters away.
The No. 18 building's second floor to the sixth floor totally collapsed and windows and doors were blown off. Nearby buildings were also damaged, China News Service reported.
Windows of a storage shed at a neighboring factory and 60 households close to the community were all shattered. Some houses' roofs were also damaged by flying debris.
A resident in Building No. 20 said he heard a big bang and felt the road shaking at the same time.
It was like a bomb blast, he told China News Service. Later, he saw more than 10 ambulances arriving at the community to take the injured to hospital.
A resident in Building No. 19, which is opposite to No. 18, said he was surfing the Internet and his wife was sleeping when the blast happened.
He found it difficult to see anything when dense smoke engulfed the apartment but managed to find his wife and help her outside. He had to have four stitches in a head wound caused by flying glass.
The community covers 80,000 square meters and it contains 22 six-story apartment buildings.
The local government has put up 108 residents from Building No. 18 in a nearby hotel and are paying a daily subsidy of 100 yuan (US$15.8) to 208 residents affected by the explosion.
An investigation into the storage of explosives has been launched across the city following the fatal blast.
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