Workers rocked by 'terrifying' night
WORKER dormitories in Tianjin's port area were reduced to twisted wreckage and injured migrants packed emergency rooms yesterday, as the underclass of China's economic boom bore the brunt of a series of giant blasts.
Paramedics stretchered the wounded into the city's hospitals as doctors bandaged up victims, many of them covered in blood after the impact of an enormous fireball was felt over several kilometres.
A doctor wept as the body of a fireman still in uniform was wheeled by, his skin blackened from smoke.
As dawn broke to reveal the extent of the devastation, many of the developments close to the blast site - nearly completed luxury apartments and office buildings in the up-and-coming Binhai New District - appeared relatively intact, except for shattered windows and the odd object smashed into a facade.
But alongside the pristine new buildings that epitomise China's rise sat twisted metal, torn-off roofs and burned-out huts - remnants of the flimsy metal structures that house workers, and looking instead like crumpled, discarded sweet wrappers.
Brightly coloured bedding was exposed to the morning sun, some stained with splatters of blood.
Construction worker Wang He lived in one of the dormitories less than a kilometre from the blast, and awoke with a jolt, hitting his head on the ceiling.
"I saw a huge fireball, felt a hot wind on my face and then heard one of the loudest sounds in my life," the 26-year-old told Agence France-Presse (AFP) at Gangkou Hospital's emergency room.
"After I got over the shock, our workers' dormitory looked as if a giant had punched the side of the building."
At the city's Teda hospital, close to the blast site, security guard Zhang Hongjie, 50, sat with his head wrapped in bandages, his arms peppered with small cuts from flying glass.
"The explosion was terrifying and I almost passed out," he told AFP. "I'm sorry, I still can't think straight, I'm a bit confused," he said, adding that he was homeless after his dormitory was destroyed.