Residents return to apartments after deadly blaze in Shanghai

10:45, December 21, 2010      

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Residents of two buildings next to the downtown high-rise apartment block destroyed by a blaze on Nov. 15 began moving back into their apartments on Monday, although they were troubled by view of burnt-out shell and paint odors.

After the fire, which killed 58 people, more than 800 residents of the neighboring two buildings were moved to hotels for 35 days, so that the safety of the buildings could be assessed and repairs and renovations on them done.

The residents were told that they had to move back into the buildings on Monday, otherwise each would have to pay 300 yuan (45 U.S. dollars) a day to remain at the hotels.

Tuesday's China Daily quoted an inspection official as saying that the two buildings had had various inspections to assess whether they were suitable to be lived in again.

Local authorities said they had examined the facilities and air quality, assigned volunteers and opened a 24-hour hotline to help the residents.

The authorities had discussed and agreed upon at meetings with residents' representatives to let the residents move back.

But many residents worried the buildings were not ready for their return.

"The new paint causes nausea, and the smell of the smoke from the fire last month is still there. I feel very uncomfortable," said a resident.

Although an announcement posted in the lobbies of the buildings said the new paint had passed a safety test and would not harm people's health despite its smell, the resident said she and her family would stay with relatives and friends until their apartment had clean air.

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