Xi urges all-out rescue and safety overhaul after deadly barbecue restaurant explosion in NW China killed 31
Published: Jun 22, 2023 12:50 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday demanded all-out rescue and treatment of the injured and safety overhaul after a barbecue restaurant explosion in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

The death toll from a gas blast which ripped through a barbecue restaurant in Yinchuan, capital of Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, on Wednesday night, has risen to 31, local authorities confirmed on Thursday.

The rescue team and investigation group for the accident were set up immediately to provide full medical treatment for the casualties and deal with the case.

Public security authorities have taken controlled of nine people including the manager, shareholders and working staff of the barbecue shop involved in the accident and frozen their assets. The local government has temporarily relocated residents of surrounding buildings near the barbecue restaurant to nearby hotels.

The National Health Commission quickly dispatched the national emergency medical rescue team to carry out the treatment of the wounded and sent out national-level burn and critical care experts to rush to Yinchuan to assist and support.

The blast happened at around 8:40 pm on a busy street in Xingqing district of Yinchuan, due to a leakage of liquefied petroleum gas from the operating area of a barbecue restaurant. The fire caused by the explosion was put out at 9:20 pm Wednesday.

The explosion resulted in 38 casualties, with 31 people confirmed dead despite rescue efforts, while seven individuals, including one in critical condition, are currently receiving medical treatment, according to the local government.

Yinchuan's mayor Tao Shaohua said at a news conference on Thursday night that it was the most serious safety accident that happened in Ningxia in years and bowed in apology.

As of Thursday morning, seven people were receiving treatment with their vital signs stable. The local government has organized 20 psychological medical specialists to conduct psychological counseling for victims and families of victims.

Two of seven injured sustained moderate burns, two were mildly ill, and two suffered injuries caused by shattered glass, official reports said.

According to a witness, the gas tank on the first floor of the barbecue shop initially exploded, before the gas pipeline on the second floor detonated, and the stairs between the floors blew up.

According to public security and fire department records, the employee from the restaurant who called 119 said that they smelled a gas leak about an hour before the explosion and found that the liquefied gas tank valve was broken, so the manager of the shop went out to buy a new valve. The explosion occurred in the process of replacing the valve after the manager returned, media reported, citing the local government.

Yinchuan will immediately carry out a city-wide one-month safety overhaul, according to an official at the news conference.