At least 12 people were killed and 39 seriously injured Sunday after a gas line explosion tore through a residential neighborhood in the city of Shiyan in Hubei province, central China. At least 12 people were killed and 39 seriously injured. More than 150 people were sent to the hospital. Stall keepers and customers buying breakfast and fresh vegetables at a food market were the majority of victims.The blast struck a two-story building built in the early 1990s, which includes pharmacies, restaurants and other businesses. Hundreds people were evacuated from the area. China’s Ministry of Emergency Management has sent a working team to Shiyan to guide the rescue work. The cause of the blast is still under investigation.
Chinese president Xi Jinping called for a thorough probe into the cause of the blast. “In light of numerous accidents at companies and on campuses, all must work together to shoulder their responsibilities, strengthen their political comprehension and root out the causes of such hazards,” he said according the official Xinhua News Agency. The blast appeared similar to one that occurred in the northeastern port of Qingdao in 2013, in which 55 people were killed when underground pipelines ripped open following a leak. Frequent deadly accidents in China are usually traced to weak adherence to safety standards, poor maintenance and corruption among enforcement bodies.