17 killed in eastern China restaurant as gas container explodes

A liquefied gas container exploded in a restaurant in eastern China at lunchtime on Saturday, causing a fire and killing 17 people, according to a local authority.

The explosion happened just before noon at a small privately run restaurant in Wuhu city’s Jinghu district, the Wuhu city government said on its microblog. Wuhu is in Anhui province, which is just west of Shanghai.

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The restaurant was one of many in an alley about 50 meters (yards) long, said a worker at a rice noodles restaurant across from the one where the blast happened.

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“When the fire broke out, people from nearby restaurants rushed to the scene and used fire extinguishers to try and put it out, but there was a lot of smoke and it was quite fierce and already blocked the door,” the worker, who would only give his surname, Wang, said by telephone.

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