Four people were killed and at least 37 others were wounded when a series of powerful explosions rocked a shopping mall in downtown Luzhou city, Sichuan province, on Thursday evening, scol.com.cn reports.
The blasts, believed to have been caused by a gas leak at a restaurant, occurred at around 10.40pm at the Moer shopping centre in Jiangyang district.
The gas reportedly leaked throughout the first and second floors, which caused the ensuing fires to spread quickly.
The explosions caused the plaza’s second-floor ceiling and walls to collapse. The impact was so strong that neighbouring buildings’ windowpanes shattered and a nearby bus station collapsed, damaging three taxis, the report said.
Witnesses said they saw smoke billowing from a building downtown and a section of road littered with shattered glass.
The general labour union office building next to the mall was also engulfed in flames.
Firemen were able to quell the blaze on Friday morning, although traffic was still blocked at several main roads in the area.