An explosion outside a kindergarten in eastern China killed at least seven people and injured almost 70 on Thursday, leaving a chaotic scene as dozens, some clutching children, were thrown to the ground.
Officials later revised the death toll from seven to eight, saying two had died at the scene and six succumbed to their injuries later in the hospital.
The cause of the blast is not clear but media reports say the police are treating the explosion as a criminal offence and have identified a suspect.
The explosion occurred at 4:48pm local time when parents and grandparents were waiting outside the Chuangxin Kindergarten to collect the children after classes.
Local newspaper Xiandaikuaibao reported that the blast appeared to have been caused by a cooking gas container. There are many street hawkers outside the kindergarten.
The provincial government has ordered checks of possible safety risks at the production site, the Xinhua report said.
Videos posted by the People's Daily showed a chaotic scene, with children and adults lying on the ground, some of them motionless, their clothes blown off them, and others struggling to get up.
This screengrab taken from a broadcast by China's State broadcaster CCTV shows the aftermath of an explosion outside a kindergarten in the eastern Chinese city of Xuzhou.
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Explosives are relatively easy to obtain in China, home to the world's largest mining and fireworks industries.
The blast is the latest tragedy to strike nursery schools in China in recent months.
Sociologists blame the pressures of a society undergoing rapid change for the attacks on schools and young children, with rising inequality and huge pressures on young people to compete and succeed.
Police claimed that the fire was started by the driver who was aggrieved about losing overtime wages.
It remained unclear whether any of the dead or injured were from the kindergarten, a brightly painted building near housing built for poor residents.
In January a man with a kitchen knife wounded 11 children at a kindergarten in southern China's Guangxi province.
The public security ministry sent a team to investigate the explosion, state media reported.