China Blast Zone Evacuated

China Blast Zone EvacuatedChina Blast Zone Evacuated

New small explosions rocked a disaster zone in the Chinese port of Tianjin on Saturday, as authorities pulled out an additional survivor and began evacuating the area to clean up chemical contamination nearly three days after massive explosions touched off the crisis.

The death toll in the inferno in a mostly industrial area has climbed to 85, including 21 firefighters, making the disaster the deadliest for Chinese firefighters in more than six decades, AP reported.

Authorities were keeping residents, journalists and other people not involved in the disaster response outside a 3-km radius around the site of the explosions to carry out what media reports said was a cleanup of chemical contamination from sodium cyanide, a toxic chemical that becomes combustible on contact with water or even damp air.

Burning flames were spotted on Saturday and explosions were reported by witnesses and state media.

An unknown number of firefighters remain missing and a total of 720 people were injured in the disaster in Tianjin, a key port and petrochemical hub about 120 kilometers east of Beijing.

Authorities on Saturday pulled out one survivor from a shipping container, state media reported. His identity was not immediately known.

Police and military personnel manned checkpoints on roads leading to the blast sites, and helicopters were seen hovering in the overcast sky. The air had a metallic chemical smell and there was uneasiness over rain forecasts, although it was warm and windy.

Meanwhile, family members of missing firefighters disrupted the latest news conference about the disaster, demanding to know whether their loved ones were still alive.