BEIJING: A powerful blast in China's port city of Ningbo in the Zhejiang province today killed two persons and injured nearly 20 others, officials said, the country's worst industrial explosion in three years which also damaged nearby buildings and vehicles.
The explosion occurred early morning at a demolished factory in Jiangbei district of Ningbo City and also left two persons missing.
The site of the blast was without residents, but the nearby residential communities were affected, with some houses being damaged, local media reported.
Two people were killed and two others went missing in the explosion, State-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The report quoting the district authorities said that 19 people were injured of which the condition of four was stated to be serious.
Firefighters discovered a pot hole at the site, which is believed to be the source point of the explosion.
The cause of the blast is still under investigation, the report said.
Two temporary relocation sites with quilts, food and medicine were arranged for the affected people, it added.
Earlier, reports said more than 30 people were taken to hospital, with two injured seriously, after the blast.
Ningbo is one of China's major international cargo and container shipping ports.
The area resembled a war zone as a video footage posted on social media after the explosion showed enormous devastation with floors of several building blown off.
Scores of vehicles parked in the area were damaged.
Rescuers were seen trying to pull the people out of the rubble from flats whose roofs were blown off.
The restaurant owner, surname Feng, said his restaurant located near the explosion site suffered damage and glass windows broke when the explosion occurred.
He said the blast took place inside a roadside house that was used for commercial purposes and was due to be demolished soon.
A restaurant owner near the explosion site, surnamed Dong, told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post when that his shop was about 500 metres away from the explosion site and all windows facing the scene of the blast had been shattered.
China had a number of industrial accidents in the course of its massive economic growth.
Today's explosion resembled a series of explosions in 2015 in Tianjin port city which ripped through a warehouse, leaving 165 people dead, eight missing and 798 injured.
The majority of those killed were firefighting crews who had gone to douse the flames.
The blasts also damaged 304 buildings, 12,428 cars and 7,533 containers, incurring economic losses amounting to 6.87 billion yuan (USD 1.01 billion).
A year later courts in Tianjin Municipality sentenced 49 people to prison, including 25 government officials for the deadly warehouse blasts.