One killed, several injured at restaurant explosion in China's Hebei province

Adds death, injured and detail

BEIJING, March 13 (Reuters) - One person was killed and 22 injured when an explosion destroyed a restaurant in Hebei province in China, badly damaging cars and leaving debris scattered on surrounding streets, Chinese state media reported on Wednesday.

The blast occurred about 8 a.m. (0000 GMT) on Wednesday in Sanhe, a county about 80 km (50 miles) from the capital, Beijing, state broadcaster CCTV News reported.

The injured were sent to a hospital, according to CCTV. The explosion occurred at a fried chicken restaurant in Yanjiao, Sanhe, and is suspected to have been caused by a gas leak, it reported.

Earlier, the Langfang Fire Rescue Detachment said in a statement that an explosion and fire had occurred in a street shop near the intersection of Xueyuan Street and Yingbin Road in Xiaozhanggezhuang village.

The department said it dispatched 36 vehicles and 154 people to the scene, adding that the fire was under control and that rescue work was being carried out.

The blast happened just after the end of high-level government political meetings in Beijing.

Videos on social media platform Weibo showed a large orange fireball above the site, followed by thick plumes of grey smoke. The video clips showed destroyed building facades, numerous mangled cars, and glass littering surrounding streets. Some objects were on fire.

One Weibo post wrote that several people said the explosion occurred near the Cultural Building in Yanjiao.

Several people said that construction on Metro Line 22 was taking place near the explosion, according to the social media account of The Economic Observer, an independent, weekly Chinese newspaper.

The Sanhe City Emergency Management Bureau sent an investigation team to the scene, and the Langfang City Emergency Management Bureau said the fire department was also at the explosion site, according to social media posts.

(Reporting by Beijing and Shanghai newsrooms; Writing by Bernard Orr; Editing by Tom Hogue and Gerry Doyle)


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