Firework blast hits China’s Tangshan, two reported dead

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People watch a daytime colour-smoke explosive show over the Huangpu River at the Bund, in Shanghai, August 8, 2014. The firework show is designed by Cai Guoqiang, to mark the opening of his exhibition "The Ninth Wave", according to local media. Picture taken August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY) CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA

Two people have been reported killed after a firework explosion on the outskirts of Tangshan in northern China’s Hebei province on Saturday.

The explosion took place at 1 p.m. in a village in the steel producing district of Fengrun, state media reported.

Footage and photographs circulated on social media showed large plumes of smoke drifting over a cluster of houses, one of which had been reduced to rubble as a result of the blast. Rescue workers were at the scene.

The official Xinhua news agency said on its Twitter-like Weibo microblog that a preliminary investigation showed the explosion was caused by a private stash of fireworks. A suspect had already been detained by police, it said.

(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Catherine Evans)