BEIJING—At least 12 people were killed and 39 seriously injured June 13 after a gas line explosion tore through a residential neighborhood in central China.
Responders to the early morning blast in the city of Shiyan in Hubei Province sent more than 150 people to the hospital, according to officials quoted by state media.
The actual number of casualties is difficult to verify, as the Chinese regime routinely suppresses or alters information.
The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.
Stall keepers and customers buying breakfast and fresh vegetables at a food market were the majority of victims when the explosion hit shortly after 6 a.m., according to the reports. The blast struck a two-story building built in the early 1990s that includes pharmacies, restaurants, and other businesses. More than 900 people were evacuated from the area.
The Shiyan explosion came a day after eight people died and three others were injured when toxic methyl formate leaked from a vehicle at a chemical handling facility in the southwestern city of Guiyang.
The blast appeared similar to one that occurred in the northeastern port of Qingdao in 2013, in which 55 people were killed when underground pipelines ripped open following a leak.
Frequent deadly accidents are usually traced to weak adherence to safety standards, poor maintenance, and corruption among enforcement bodies.
Among the worst accidents was a massive 2015 explosion at a chemical warehouse in the port city of Tianjin that killed 173 people, most of them firefighters and police officers. The blast was blamed on illegal construction and unsafe storage of volatile materials.
Epoch Times staff contributed to this report