August 12th is an auspicious date around the world, for a number of varied and distinct reasons. In Thailand, it is the date of Mother's Day and the Queen's birthday. In the UK, the “Glorious 12th” is an age old date which marks the start of Grouse hunting season. It is also, in an entry far happier than the last, “World Elephant Day”. However, since the year 2015, the date will always be synonymous with the chemical explosion at Rui Hai Logistics' warehouse in Tianjin in China.
The explosion was not only devastating, but entirely shocking. Such was the power of the first blast that the explosion registered a 2.3 reading on seismographs. A second explosion was far more powerful and far more destructive. Shooting enormous fireballs hundreds of feet into the air buildings were shattered beyond repair as far as 2 miles away from the epicenter of the blast, 8,000 new cars awaiting export/import were turned to blackened wrecks and around a thousand people were injured or killed – including those fire fighters who tried to subdue the initial fire by dousing the area with water. Of course the fire fighters, as was the case with the thousands of resident who lived nearby, had no idea they were dealing with a chemical fire and their actions, consequently, literally added fuel to the fire. Not that the Tianjin fire department was in any way to blame, having no suspicion that thousands of tons of hazardous substances were being stored upon the doorstep of a major residential area. If fact, as the travesty unfolded, it became apparent how surreptitiously operations from this toxic hoard had been undertaken. It also became apparent, as the nature of the hazardous substances was determined, that the consequences for the local ecosystem could be catastrophic.
(Toxic explosions at Tianjin, could happen again