Chinese chemical blasts: 114 dead, 57 still missing

Updated 12:35 AM EDT, Tue August 18, 2015
A woman (C) holds a name list of missing firefighters as family members talk to media to seek for help after being barred from a press conference authorities have at a hotel in Tianjin on August 15, 2015. Furious, frustrated and fearful, relatives of the missing in giant explosions in Tianjin besieged officials on August 15 demanding answers on their loved ones's fates- only for security to intervene instead.CHINA OUT     AFP PHOTO        (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
STR/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A woman (C) holds a name list of missing firefighters as family members talk to media to seek for help after being barred from a press conference authorities have at a hotel in Tianjin on August 15, 2015. Furious, frustrated and fearful, relatives of the missing in giant explosions in Tianjin besieged officials on August 15 demanding answers on their loved ones's fates- only for security to intervene instead.CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
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A resident injured by the explosions that hit a nearby chemical warehouse last week holds a photo of herself injured as she joins a protest outside the hotel where authorities are holding a press conferences in Tianjin on August 17, 2015. Rescuers at a Chinese industrial site where huge explosions killed at least 114 people combed through thousands of crushed shipping containers on August 17 in an effort to contain vast amounts of highly toxic cyanide, officials said, as state-run media lambasted authorities for their response to the tragedy. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTOSTR/AFP/Getty Images
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A resident injured by the explosions that hit a nearby chemical warehouse last week holds a photo of herself injured as she joins a protest outside the hotel where authorities are holding a press conferences in Tianjin on August 17, 2015. Rescuers at a Chinese industrial site where huge explosions killed at least 114 people combed through thousands of crushed shipping containers on August 17 in an effort to contain vast amounts of highly toxic cyanide, officials said, as state-run media lambasted authorities for their response to the tragedy. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTOSTR/AFP/Getty Images
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An explosion took place in China's northern city of Tianjin late Wednesday, August 12, 2015 evening, according to China's state-owned broadcaster CCTV. The explosion occurred at a container port where flammable material was being stored in containers, says CCTV. Residents report hearing loud explosions and feeling strong tremors nearby. The Teda Hospital, located near the scene of explosion, has received more than 50 injured people, the country's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
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Story highlights

2,000 troops are searching areas within a 3-kilometer radius for hazardous material

An official says the air and water quality are fine

A search commander is expecting to find more bodies than survivors

(CNN) —  

Luo Shuhui’s home was 700 meters from the chemical warehouse that exploded last week, hurling fireballs into the sky.

Now, Luo and other nearby residents are livid at the government and want it to pay for their homes.

“I just want an answer from the government,” Luo said Sunday at a protest by local apartment owners. “Are the officials corrupt, or what? Why did they build a hazardous chemical warehouse near our home without telling us? Who would want to live next to a ticking time bomb? No one!”

It’s been four days since the explosions rocked the northeastern coastal city of Tianjin on Wednesday, killing at least 114 people, officials said – with many more bodies likely trapped in the rubble. At least 57 people are still missing, according to authorities.

Rescuers have found more than 50 people alive, said Tianjin government spokesman Gong Jiansheng. They include a 19-year-old firefighter who lay on the ground for hours with burns and a cracked skull until he was found, officials said.

Workers spent another day scouring heaps of rubble for possible survivors, but one of the military commanders in the effort said Sunday that the odds of finding anyone alive are slim.

Instead, Maj. Gen. Shi Luze said, he expects the search to yield more bodies.

The blasts, one of which had the force of more than 20 tons of TNT, left more than 700 people injured and thousands homeless, officials said.

Toxic concerns

Residents worried about lingering contamination.

“I asked my in-laws to take my daughter home. I don’t want them to stay here,” migrant worker Tian Binyan said. “I’m worried. I heard it’s going to rain later, and that would make the air toxic.”

Like Luo, Zhang Yuqin wants the government to buy out her home near the warehouse. She wears a surgical mask while outside, as do several other protesters.

“We haven’t been back home since the explosions,” Zhang said. “The soldiers wouldn’t let us into the compound. We heard they’re cleaning up our homes. We haven’t agreed to it, and don’t know why they’re cleaning up.”

’Lessons paid for with blood’

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Saturday that the Tianjin blasts and other recent accidents exposed severe problems in workplace safety and urged authorities to heed “safe growth” and “people’s interest first” in efforts to avoid such accidents, Xinhua reported.

He urged authorities to heed “safe growth” and the people’s interest first in efforts to avoid such accidents, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

The president also “urged authorities to learn from the ‘extremely profound’ lessons paid for with blood” in the Tianjin explosions, Xinhua reported.

Xi is demanding improvements to workplace safety, the agency added.