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China: 15 dead and dozens more injured in Nanjing flat fire

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At least 15 people were killed and 44 injured in a fire at an apartment building in eastern China’s Nanjing, local authorities said Saturday.

The blaze broke out at a news conference Friday morning, with officials saying a preliminary investigation suggested the fire started on the first floor of the building, where electric bicycles were stored. The building is located in the Yuhua District of Nanjing, a city of more than eight million people, about 260 kilometers (162 miles) northwest of Shanghai.

The fire was put out by 6:00 a.m. (2200 GMT Thursday) and the search and rescue operation ended around 2:00 p.m., officials said. According to the emergency services, 25 fire engines were mobilized to fight the fire. Footage shared on Chinese social media shows a skyscraper on fire in the middle of the night, with black smoke pouring out of it.

Other images show huge flames engulfing several floors of the building, with the flashing lights of emergency vehicles visible in the darkness nearby. Additional footage, apparently taken later, shows white smoke billowing from several points in the building.

Forty-four injured people were sent to hospital for treatment, officials said, adding that one person was in “critical” condition and another was seriously injured. At a press conference, the mayor of the city, Chen Zhichan, expressed condolences and apologies to the families of the victims.

Frequent fires

Fires and other fatal accidents are common in China due to lax safety standards and poor enforcement. And the country has seen a series of deadly fires in recent months, often caused by carelessness – prompting President Xi Jinping’s calls last month for “deeper consideration” and more efforts to “prevent safety accidents from occurring”.

In January, dozens of people died in a fire at a store in the central city of Xinyu, which state news agency Xinhua said was caused by the “illegal” use of fire by workers in the store’s basement. The fire comes just days after an evening fire at a school in central China’s Henan province killed 13 schoolchildren while sleeping in a dormitory.

A school teacher told the state-run Hebei Daily that all the victims were from the third grade of grades 9 and 10. Domestic media say that the fire was caused by an electric heating device. And in November, a fire at the office of a coal company in northern China’s Shaanxi Province killed 26 people and sent dozens to the hospital.

A month ago, an explosion at a barbecue restaurant in the country’s northwest killed 31 people and prompted the official pledge of a nationwide campaign to promote workplace safety. And in April, a hospital fire in Beijing killed 29 people and forced desperate survivors to climb out of windows to escape. (Source: AFP)

The post China: 15 dead and dozens more injured in Nanjing flat fire appeared first on DailyNews.

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