At least seven killed in explosion outside kindergarten in China

Reports say no children among the dead after blast blamed on cooking cylinder accident

A screengrab taken from  China’s state broadcaster CCTV showing the aftermath of an explosion outside a kindergarten in the eastern Chinese city of Xuzhou. Photograph: CCTV/AFP/Getty Images

A screengrab taken from China’s state broadcaster CCTV showing the aftermath of an explosion outside a kindergarten in the eastern Chinese city of Xuzhou. Photograph: CCTV/AFP/Getty Images

 

At least seven people were killed and dozens injured in an explosion at the gates of a kindergarten in eastern China, with state media saying a cooking gas cylinder at a stall outside the school may have been the cause.

The explosion took place at 4.50pm local time as people were gathering to pick up children from the Chuangxin Kindergarten in Fengxian, Jiangsu province.

Videos apparently from the scene and posted on social media showed children and adults lying on the ground, some bleeding. Clothing, shoes and other items were strewn on the ground beside pools of blood outside the kindergarten.

Officials from the city of Xuzhou, which administers the county, confirmed that seven people had died and said 66 had been injured in the explosion, nine of them seriously. The report said no children or teachers were among the dead.

The officials said the incident was under investigation.

An eyewitness surnamed Shi told the Global Times newspaper that the blast was caused by an explosion of a gas cylinder at a roadside food stall. The impact of the blast sent people flying several metres into the air, the witness said.

Kindergartens in China have been targeted before in apparent revenge attacks carried out by people bearing grudges against their neighbours and society. This has prompted a tightening of security around many schools, with the posting of guards equipped with truncheons and the installation of gates and other barriers.

China maintains tight control over firearms and most of these attacks are carried out using knives, axes or home-made explosives.

In May, 11 kindergarten students, 10 of them Korean, died in Shandong province after the driver set fire to their schoolbus as it drove through a tunnel. The man was about to be dismissed from his job.

Additional reporting: agencies