26 Dead, Dozens Hospitalised in China Building Fire


Twenty-six people have died and dozens were sent to hospital after a fire tore through a building in northern China’s Shanxi province on Thursday, state media reported.

The fire started at a four-storey building belonging to the Yongju coal company in Luliang city at around 6:50 am local time (2250 GMT on Wednesday), state media said, citing local authorities.

Twenty-six people were confirmed dead, state news agency Xinhua reported. Earlier, 63 people had been evacuated from the site, 51 of whom were hospitalised.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping, currently in the United States for a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders, said there was an “extremely profound lesson” to be learned from the fire.

Local governments must “conduct in-depth investigations of hidden risks in key industries, improve emergency plans and prevention measures”, Xi called for “all efforts” to provide medical attention to the injured and look into the cause of the fire. Industrial accidents are common in China due to lax safety standards and poor enforcement.

In April 29 people died in a hospital fire in the capital of Beijing, sparking public anger as many questioned the lack of reporting on the incident and why the relatives of patients were not informed earlier. Last October, an explosion at a barbecue restaurant in the north-western Yinchuan province killed 31 people.

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