“We are not sure what chemicals they were,” said Gao Huaiyou, deputy director of work safety for the port city of Tianjin, China. “We also don’t know what quantities they were,” he told reporters.

At least 50 people were killed and 700 injured when explosions and a fireball hit a chemical warehouse late Wednesday. At least 17 of the fatalities were fire crew tackling the fire that sparked the explosions, with 21 rescue personnel still missing.

More than 70 of the injured were in serious condition

The magnitude of the initial blast late Wednesday was similar to 3 tons of TNT exploding and a second blast’s magnitude was equivalent to 21 tons of TNT, China’s earthquake bureau said Thursday.

Port operator the Tianjin Port Group said Thursday that “dozens” of its employees were missing.

Gao said identifying the substances in the warehouse was made harder by significant differences between the accounts held by the company, and the customs records. Many documents were also destroyed.

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The site affected had been redesigned to store dangerous chemicals, but cargo was only stored there for a maximum of 40 days, he said.

A team of 217 chemical experts were deployed to the scene late Thursday, Xinhua reported

State television reported that the warehouse was 600 metres from the nearest residences, when it should have been no closer than 1,000 metres according to regulations.

Around 3,500 people were made homeless and moved to centres set up in 10 schools.

State media reports said the fire was brought under control Thursday but not extinguished.

After the first explosion, the fire spread to other warehouses, and buildings belonging to a dozen logistics firms were destroyed. The Yicai financial newspaper reported that more than 2,700 newly built Volkswagen cars parked near the accident site were laid to waste.

A window shattered by the shockwaves frames the site of an explosion at a warehouse in northeastern China's Tianjin municipality, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. Explosions that sent huge fireballs through China's Tianjin port have disrupted the flow of cars, oil, iron ore and other items through the world's 10th largest port. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A window shattered by the shockwaves frames the site of an explosion at a warehouse in northeastern China’s Tianjin municipality, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. Explosions that sent huge fireballs through China’s Tianjin port have disrupted the flow of cars, oil, iron ore and other items through the world’s 10th largest port. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

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Author: ANA Newswire