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|Wednesday, December 27, 2000, updated at 09:33(GMT+8)|
Big Fire in Luoyang Cleaned Up, 309 Suffocate
Most of them were then in an illegally operated song and dance hall, owned individually, on the fourth floor of the building in Luoyang City.
The fire's cause was still under investigation and the suspects responsible for the fire have been detained, said local government officials.
The fire broke out in the building housing a department store at 9:35 p.m. Monday. The fire was under control by 22:50 and was completely put out at 00:37 early Tuesday morning.
Some 800 police officers and firefighters and 26 fire engines rushed to the scene after receiving the call. Leading government officials of Henan Province and the city of Luoyang, including Governor Li Keqiang, went to the scene to direct rescue work.
An emergency meeting was held early Tuesday morning in the province and in the afternoon, Shi Wanpeng, vice-minister of the State Economic and Trade Commission, also arrived in Luoyang.
To prevent similar accidents, the Ministry of Public Security Tuesday released an urgent circular, asking local governments to spare no efforts to ensure safety during the New Year's Day and the Spring Festival holidays.
The circular urged local governments to begin a thorough check for potential fire danger in hotels, shopping malls, hospitals and schools.
Substandard fire and alarm systems should be improved. Dance halls and disco halls without operating licenses and no fire systems must be closed immediately, said the circular.
Site CleanedThe site of the devastating fire, which occurred Monday evening in Luoyan City, central China's Henan Province, and claimed 309 lives, was cleaned up by Tuesday (December 26) noon.
The fire broke out at 21:35 at a department store located in the old urban area of Luoyang. The fire was completely extinguished by 00:45 Tuesday.
The 309 people killed in the fire comprised 135 males and 174 females, who were attending a gala celebration for Christmas Day at a dancing hall on the fourth floor.
Seven other people were injured in the fire and were treated at local hospitals, the sources said.
Top provincial Party and government leaders Tuesday directed the handling of the aftermath of the fire on the spot.
309 Lives ClaimedA devastating fire, which occurred Monday evening in central China's Henan Province, has claimed 309 lives, reliable sources confirmed Tuesday morning.
The fire broke out at 21:35 at a department store which is located in the old urban area of Luoyang City. The fire stranded a group of builders on the second and third floors and more than 200 people who were at a singing and dancing hall on the fourth floor.
Several dozen people are now being treated at local hospitals, the sources said.
Leading government officials of Henan Province and Luoyang City, including Governor Li Keqiang, rushed to the scene to direct rescue work.
The fire was completely put out at 00:45 early Tuesday morning.
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