China Blast Felt Like ‘Earthquake'; 50 Dead, 700 Hospitalized

Massive explosions that rocked the port city of Tianjin in China were so strong that residents miles away thought they were experiencing an earthquake, witnesses said Thursday as the death toll climbed to 50.

Buildings had collapsed, homes were littered with shattered glass and smoke was still visible across the scene more than 16 hours after the explosion.

Twelve firefighters were among those killed in the twin blasts, which sent massive fireballs into the sky and devastated a warehouse district as well as nearby homes. More than 700 wounded were being treated at hospitals.

Chinese authorities did not say what caused the blasts. 

"I felt the ground shaking and my door was making a big noise," local resident Tang Lei told NBC News. "I thought it was an earthquake."

AFP/Getty Images
This photo taken with a mobile phone on August 12, 2015 and received from a Weibo user shows people taking shelter on a street after a huge explosion in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin.
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