A firefighter who was among some of the first emergency responders at the scene of the massive warehouse blast in Tianjin was found alive this morning after being out of contact for around 31 hours.
Gong Xian Shang, a local media official, said in a press conference that a man was rescued at 7:05 a.m. on Friday. Xinhua identified him as a 19-year-old firefighter named Zhou Ti, who was one of the first to get to the warehouse after receiving reports about a fire there on Wednesday night.
It’s unknown whether Zhou was injured in the blaze or the subsequent blasts that ripped through the facility about 40 minutes later. Xinhua reported that he sustained burns to his face and “features of memory loss”.
More than 17 firefighters have been reported dead in the wake of the explosions, with an unknown number still missing. The death toll has climbed to 50 but is expected to rise, while over 700 people have been hospitalized.
1,020 firefighters were still at the scene of the explosion extinguishing the flames this morning, the head of Tianjin’s fire department said at the press conference.
“When the blast occurred, several firefighters were working to put out the fire, and backup forces had just arrived. They were caught off guard, so the casualties are grave,” he said.
[Image via SCMP]