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BEIJING (AP) _ An explosion flattened homes and damaged university dormitories in the eastern Chinese city of Tianjin, a university official said Saturday. At least two people were killed.

At least 30 others were injured in Friday's blast in a crowded neighborhood, said the official at the nearby Tianjin Commercial College. He gave only his surname, Han.

Police had cordoned off the area and were searching the rubble for more victims, Han said. He said the neighborhood's narrow alleyways prevented fire trucks and ambulances from reaching the site.

The cause of the explosion was still under investigation, according to the Web site of the official People's Daily newspaper. Police refused to comment.

The blast destroyed dozens of single-story brick dwellings and blew black smoke and debris high into the air, Han said. He said there was a deep crater at the site, which was strewn with broken bricks, shattered glass and wooden beams.