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Pope prays for victims of Tianjin fire disaster

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

The Pope offered prayers Saturday for the Chinese port of Tianjin, where a giant chemical explosion has left at least 85 people dead.

“Those who have lost their lives as well as all those touched by this catastrophe are in my prayers,” Francis said during angelus prayers at St Peter’s in Rome during the Catholic Feast of the Assumption, which marks Christ’s mother Mary’s ascent to heaven.

The gigantic series of explosions began after a fire in a warehouse in the northeastern city on Thursday, with more residents being evacuated Saturday over fears that highly-poisonous sodium cyanide had been released.

The fire intensified at the hazardous goods storage facility on Saturday and a series of new explosions sent a thick black column of smoke into the air, the official Xinhua news agency said.

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