The official Xinhua news agency said the blast happened at around 11:30 pm (1630 GMT), when a deafening bang was heard and plumes of flame lit up the night sky, scattering dust dozens of metres into the air.
“An explosion ripped through a warehouse storing ‘dangerous goods’ in north China’s Tianjin City late Wednesday night, injuring at least 50 people,” Xinhua said.
Videos posted on Weibo, a Chinese social network, showed a fireball shooting into the air and at least two separate explosions. Xinhua said shockwaves from the blast could be felt several kilometres (miles) away.
Photos posted on Weibo showed people in the street apparently covered in blood, but the veracity of the pictures could not immediately be confirmed.