At least 12 people were killed and as many as 300 injured when a powerful explosion triggered by a gas pipeline leak ripped through a plastic and chemicals factory in eastern China.
The resultant fire reduced the factory to rubble and also devastated nearby buildings in the city of Nanjing, the capital of the Jiangsu province.
The local hospital, where the casualties were rushed to, reported acute shortage of blood and authorities went on airwaves to ask people to donate blood.
State television said 12 people had died. Earlier, state-run Xinhua news agency had put the casualty figure at six.
The blast that occurred at about 10:10 am at an abandoned plastic and chemicals factory, blew out windows and doors of residences up to almost 300 metres away while people further up abandoned their houses and fled in panic.
Local residents said they felt a tremor and heard a loud noise, and many fled out from buildings thinking it was an earthquake.
An initial investigation showed gas leak from a pipeline going through the plant as the trigger of the explosion.
The impact of the explosion also damaged a bus that was passing the area, injuring many passengers.
Media reports said a man was hit by a falling ceiling when he was sleeping at home. He died later in hospital.
The blaze at the factory has been brought under control by the fire-fighters but rescuers are still searching for people in the debris.
Authorities could not immediately give the number of casualties, but local media said more than 300 people have been hospitalised and at least 50 people were seriously injured.
Some hospitals have had to evacuate rooms to treat injured people.