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    One dead, 12 injured in Tianjin gas explosion in north China

    BEIJING (AP) – One person has died in a gas explosion that injured 12 others at a six-storey residential building in the Chinese port city of Tianjin, state media said yesterday.

    A trapped person who had been pulled out on Tuesday at 5.40pm, more than 10 hours after the morning blast, had weak vital signs and died after being taken to a hospital, according to a Tianjin Daily report posted by the Tianjin government on social media.

    The search was continuing for three others who remained missing, the report said.

    The injuries to the other 12 are not life-threatening, it said.

    The explosion occurred around 7.15am in the city’s Beichen District. Photos of the scene showed upper storeys of the building caved in with the roof still intact, but no obvious damage to neighbouring units.

    Tianjin, a major port and manufacturing hub, is less than an hour by high-speed train from Beijing and has long been one of China’s most developed and international cities.

    The cause of the explosion remains under investigation, but it appears to point to the deterioration of infrastructure following more than three decades of breakneck economic growth.

    The building was built in the 1980s, the Tianjin Daily reported.

    China’s Ministry of Emergency Management called for determining the cause as quickly as possible and a comprehensive screening to identify gas leak risks and prevent such accidents in the future, the official Xinhua news agency said.

    China is replacing decades-old infrastructure, with natural gas lines used for cooking, heat and power generation a particular concern.

    A fireman looks into the partially collapsed section of a building in China’s Tianjin Municipality. PHOTO: AP
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