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Two injured in BBQ eatery blast in eastern China

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Two people were injured on Saturday after a powerful blast at a barbecue shop in the eastern Chinese city of Huaian, local authorities said, the latest incident to spur calls for better restaurant-safety checks across the country.

Videos online posted by state media showed that the blast that occurred at 4:20 p.m. local time (0820 GMT) ripped off the facade of the eatery's building, sending big black plumes of smoke into the air and spraying glass shards across the street.

The two people who were injured were sent to hospital and the cause of the blast was being investigated, Huaian authorities said on their social media account.

The latest blast follows a series of similar explosions since 2023 that have drawn scrutiny over national safety standards.

Last week, a gas leak at a fried chicken shop in Sanhe, a city in Hebei province adjacent to Beijing, killed seven people and injured 27 others. That incident attracted further attention after reporters were blocked by local residents and security guards while trying to report on the blast's aftermath.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Bernadette Baum)