Police hold 10 over fire that killed 3

Updated: 2012-12-24 07:55

By Chen Xin (China Daily)

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Ten people have been held responsible for a fire in a commercial building in Northwest China that killed three people and injured 21 on Saturday.

Flames from a stove ignited the exterior wall of the 14-story World Trade Building in Yan'an, Shaanxi province, local authorities said on Sunday.

The fire, which engulfed the whole building, was extinguished at around 4 pm.

Ten people from a local construction company were held responsible for the accident and detained by police, according to local authorities. Among those killed were a security guard, a staff member of a restaurant and a hotel guest. All of the people injured in the fire suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and were taken to a hospital. They are in stable condition, according to authorities.

More than 460 firefighters and police officers and 43 firetrucks were mobilized to rescue people.

Around 1,700 residents living around the building were evacuated on Saturday, local authorities said.

A hotel guest who stayed on the ninth floor of the building and managed to escape the fire shared his story on Sina Weibo, a micro-blogging site, on Saturday.

"I was choked by dense smoke when I woke up in the morning. I opened my eyes and found that smoke was everywhere in the room, and I ran toward the door without putting on shoes," he said. "I opened the door and found that I could hardly see anything because the whole corridor was full of smoke."

"I calmed myself, and then I opened the window in the room and put on my clothes," he said.

He then covered his mouth with a wet towel and rushed to the stairway. "I could hear people shouting, and I could even hear my own steps. I found it hard to breathe," he said. "I took deep breaths of fresh air after getting out. I was safe finally."

Luo Fengcheng and his wife were sleeping on the 13th floor of the hotel when the fire broke out. The couple woke 10 guests on the same floor and escaped, Beijing Evening News reported.

Jia Xueqi, an officer from fire department, said the cold weather affected efforts to put out the fire. Temperatures on Saturday reached lows of -17 C.

Water sprayed from fire trucks turned into ice, Jia said.

Xinhua contributed to this story.


(China Daily 12/24/2012 page5)