A gas explosion in a residential area killed at least 11 people and left 37 severely injured in central China on Sunday, the local authorities said.

The cause of the blast, which took place at around 6:30 a.m. in the city of Shiyan, in Hubei Province, was still under investigation, according to the local government. In all, rescuers had taken 144 people from the scene, including the dead and injured.

Photographs published by official media showed bricks and debris strewn in the street and extensive damage to nearby buildings. The explosion took place at a vegetable market that had already opened for business for the day, according to local news reports, which said people had been buying and selling produce and eating breakfast.

The governor of Hubei, Wang Zhonglin, was heading to the scene to direct rescue efforts, the authorities said.

In recent years, deadly blasts in industrial zones have led the Chinese authorities to become stricter about enforcing safety rules. In 2015, explosions at a chemical storage facility in Tianjin, a northern port city, killed more than 170 people.

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