Authorities in southwest China said that a lunchtime explosion at an office canteen killed 16 people and injured another ten in the incident.
According to a statement posted online by the Chongqing city government, a gas leak is likely to have been the source of the explosion on Friday.
The canteen collapsed, trapping all who were trapped within. Rescue crews continued searching through the night and were able to collect all of the dead by midnight, according to the official Xinhua news service.
According to state broadcaster CCTV, a team of more than 600 people from the Ministry of Emergency Management was rushed to the scene.
As reported by Xinhua, one of the survivors was in critical condition.
Gas leaks and explosions are not prevalent in China, owing to lax safety regulations in the country.
In June, a gas explosion that raced through a residential compound and struck a bustling two-story structure crowded with shoppers claimed the lives of twenty-five individuals.
Sixteen individuals were taken into custody, including the general manager of the firm that controlled the gas pipeline, after the authorities determined that “the organization’s safety management system was unsound.”
In the same month, a fire broke out at a martial arts school, killing 18 people and injuring dozens more. According to state media, all of the victims were boarding school students.
The incident occurred at 12:10 p.m. at a government subdistrict office in Wulong District, which is located approximately 75 kilometres west of the city centre and is famed for its spectacular karst rock formations.
According to a witness who spoke to state-run Phoenix TV, the explosion was “extremely alarming… our windows have all been blown out.”