Foreign

June 22, 2023

Police arrest owner as restaurant gas explosion kills 31 in China

Police arrest owner as restaurant gas explosion kills 31 in China

A gas explosion at a barbecue eatery on has killed 31 people in China’s northwestern Ningxia region, China on Wednesday night.

The state-run Xinhua news agency said the incident was one of the country’s deadliest restaurant blasts in recent years.

BBC said the explosion at the two-storey establishment sparked discussion on Chinese social media about the safety of barbecue restaurants, which have gained new popularity this year with the lifting of zero-Covid curbs and hype among online influencers.

Apart from the fatalities, seven people were also rushed to the hospital for treatment of burns and cuts from broken glass after the blast, which was triggered by a leaking liquefied petroleum gas tank at the restaurant.

The explosion prompted President Xi Jinping to order a safety overhaul across China, calling on all regions to rectify safety risks and “hidden dangers”.

“All barbecue shops in the country should be shut down and rectified,” a Chinese social media user wrote on the popular Twitter-like microblog Weibo.

“Profits should not be earned with the blood of the people.”

The restaurant in Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia and a tourist hub in the region, is well-known locally with a loyal following, according to media reports.

Authorities have arrested nine people including the owner of the Fuyang Barbecue Restaurant for their role in the bloody deadly.

The explosion occurred on the eve of the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday in China, a time when many families and friends gather for celebratory meals.

The blast happened during peak dining hours, with high school students and retirees said to be among the dead.

Accidents due to gas and chemical blasts are not uncommon in China, despite years of efforts to improve safety.