Illegal work practices behind Shanghai high-rise fire: work safety chief

21:20, November 17, 2010      

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Illegal work practices and lax government supervision were to blame for Monday's fire that killed at least 53 people in a Shanghai apartment block, China's top work safety official said Wednesday.

Police have detained eight people in connection with the fire, which also injured 70 people.

Work by unlicensed welders, multilayered sub-contracting and poor management all contributed to the blaze, said Luo Lin, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, who also leads the investigation panel

The blaze is believed to have been started by sparks from welding by allegedly unlicensed welders, before quickly spread to bamboo on the scaffolding and nylon nets shrouding the 28-story building on Monday.

A preliminary investigation by a State Council panel found that multilayered subcontracting, which was illegal in China, was behind the fatal fire, said Luo.

Bad management by the contractor and ineffective government safety supervision were also responsible, said Luo.

"The accident should not have happened and could have been completely avoided," he said, promising to thoroughly investigate the causes of the fire and prosecute those responsible according to the law.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, Tuesday ordered a nationwide crackdown on lax monitoring and enforcement of fire-safety measures.

It required extensive campaigns to inspect and remove fire hazards and to educate the public about fire safety and controls, as well as strict implementation of the accountability system for fire accidents.

Source: Xinhua


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