At least 31 people were killed and seven others injured when a massive cooking gas explosion ripped through a barbecue restaurant in northwestern China, official media reported on Thursday.
The blast happened at around 8:40 pm on Wednesday on a busy street in the Xingqing District of Yinchuan, due to a leakage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from the operating area of a barbecue restaurant, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.
The explosion resulted in 38 casualties, with 31 people confirmed dead, while seven individuals, including one in critical condition, are currently receiving medical treatment, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Regional Committee of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) said.
The explosion took place on the eve of the two-day holiday of China's Dragon Boat festival beginning on Thursday. The restaurant was reportedly packed with a holiday crowd.
The blast caused heavy damage to the surrounding buildings.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday called for an all-out rescue and treatment of the injured and a safety overhaul after a barbecue restaurant in Yinchuan.
A joint work team, including members from China's Ministry of Emergency Management, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the State Administration for Market Regulation, was dispatched to the scene to guide the rescue work.
Four medical experts went to the scene with the joint work team to carry out emergency medical assistance.
The local rescue team dispatched 102 people and 20 vehicles to the scene and rescue operations ended in the early hours on Thursday, the Xinhua report said.
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region is the home of China's Hui Muslims.
China has about 20 million Muslims who are mostly Uyghurs, an ethnic group of Turkic origin and Hui Muslims who are of Chinese ethnic origin.