China / Society

14 killed in N. China restaurant explosion

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-11-24 10:51

TAIYUAN - The death toll from an explosion at a hot pot restaurant in North China's Shanxi province on Friday evening rose to 14 early Saturday with another 47 people being injured, local investigators said.

The explosion, which occurred at 7:52 pm, triggered a blaze at the Xiyangyang (Happy Sheep) Hot Pot Restaurant in Shouyang county of Jinzhong city.

Initial investigations showed the explosion was caused by a gas leak.

14 killed in N. China restaurant explosion

The hot pot restaurant is completely destroyed after explosion in Shouyang county of Jinzhong city, North China's Shanxi province, on Nov 24, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]

Hot pot, the Chinese counterpart of fondue, is a kind of stew using a metal pot kept simmering by charcoal, electricity or gas.

Investigators from the local county government said the injured, including 17 severely, were sent to hospital after the accident.

They said among the dead, six were killed at the scene and eight others died in hospital despite medical treatment.

The powerful explosion shattered the windows of the two-storey restaurant and some neighboring shops as far as 20 meters away. Iron gates of some shops were twisted by the force of the explosion, a Xinhua reporter said.

Witnesses said that there was nothing unusual before the explosion happened.

"Suddenly, there was a big bang and the hot wave ensued," said Yuan Heping, who was dining in the restaurant with his wife and friends when the explosion happened.

"The whole room was engulfed in black smoke and I had to use my sweater to cover my mouth before I managed to jump from the second-floor window," said Yuan, who suffered slight burn injuries in the explosion.

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