Prosecutors investigate misconduct behind fatal China fire

Updated: 2015-12-14 22:26


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BEIJING - Twenty-five people are being investigated for negligence in relation to a huge fire in central China earlier this year, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP).

In May 39 people were killed and six injured after a fire ripped through a private old people's home in Lushan, Pingdingshan City. Direct economic losses topped 20 million yuan (3.1 million US dollars.)

"The incident exposed severe violations [...] as well as grave dereliction of duty by local-level supervisory departments," the SPP said Monday in a statement, citing the results of a preliminary investigation .

The SPP apportioned the blame on safety risks at the rest home, resulting from substandard management; slack supervision from local civil affairs and fire departments; and inferior production safety during the project planning and construction of the bungalow-style homes.

The suspects, including vice county head Liu Wenqiang and heads of the county civil affairs bureau and fire team, have been placed under "coercive measures" on charges of dereliction of duty, power abuse and taking bribes.

Coercive measures include summons by force, bail, residential surveillance, detention and arrest.

According to the SPP, the prosecution process for 24 of the suspects has already begun.