Blast flattens karaoke, killing 25

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 July, 2007, 12:00am
 

At least 25 people, most of them revellers at a crowded karaoke bar, were killed and dozens injured, when a powerful explosion destroyed a two-storey building in northeastern China, Xinhua reported.


Witnesses said most of those killed at the privately owned Tianying Karaoke Hall in Tianshifu township were aged 18 to 20. Some were high-school students celebrating the end of exams, they said.


One resident of the township said explosives had been planted in the building, the area's biggest entertainment venue, which also housed a street-front restaurant and a public bathhouse.


The owner of the facilities was among those killed. Xinhua said the owner's wife and several restaurant staff had been detained for questioning, but police did not offer an explanation for the cause of the blast, in which 33 people suffered injury.


The blast happened at 10.50pm and reduced the building in Benxi county, Liaoning province , to a pile of concrete rubble. Several vehicles were buried under the debris, and nearby tower blocks damaged. Windows were broken and tiles blown off, according to Xinhua.


The explosion also knocked out power supplies in the coal mining town of 40,000 people for several hours.


Police wrapped up their search-and-rescue operation yesterday morning, and most of the rubble from the explosion had been cleared away.


Chen Xiaohong , 77, who lives about 50 metres from the entertainment complex, told Xinhua he had been supervising his grandson's homework when he heard a thunderous bang.


Mr Chen said his front door was blown wide open and the lights went off, but both he and his grandson escaped unharmed.


Meng Xianling , who lives one block from the site of the blast, said she and her 13-year-old son were asleep when it happened.


The force of the blast ripped off most of her roof, she said. Her house was also littered with rubble, according to Xinhua.


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