Explosion Rocks Tianjin

It is 11:30 p.m. and you are relaxing or maybe sound asleep. You are in Tianjin, China, and the city seems alive, but all of a sudden, the ground starts to shake. You believe it is an earthquake, but the large boom you hear next makes you think otherwise. You look towards the port and a giant fireball is in the air. The city is now filled with sirens going towards the blaze and many others running away from it. Eventually, the fires subside, but there are many questions left unanswered. What was it? Who caused it? Why did it happen? This is what happened in Tianjin, China on August 12, 2015. It left over 700 people injured and at least 50 people killed. Many buildings, cars, and shipping containers were damaged. The explosion was so massive that it registered as the equivalent of 21 tons of TNT, and satellites saw the explosion from space.

One of the warehouses in the port of Tianjin contained many dangerous chemicals before the time of the explosion, these chemicals included calcium carbide, sodium cyanide, potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, and sodium nitrate. Before the giant explosion, there was a small blaze located at the same location as these chemicals. It turns out that calcium carbide is highly reactive with water to produce an explosion. When the firefighters arrived to put out the blaze, they might have covered the calcium carbide in water that caused it to react and the explosive power from that detonated the other chemicals into the terrifying inferno.

After firefighters dealt with the threat and the damage had ceased, it was time to assess the damage. Shipping containers crumpled like paper in the blast and flew around in the air. This led to a large amount of goods being lost or destroyed in the process. Companies like Hyundai, Toyota, and John Deere lost millions of dollars in the explosion and some have pulled out of the region. Buildings, cars, and containers closer to the blast were completely incinerated. Sodium cyanide happens to be soluble in water and can form a poisonous gas that becomes toxic to any workers in the area, but Chinese officials have stated that the chemicals are under control. The explosion displaced thousands of people in the aftermath. Individuals moved to schools and other areas to stay in. Community members banded together to provide food, water, shelter, and other goods as needed. Many held vigils in the wake of the firefighters and workers that died in the blast.