Fires kill 40 in China during Lunar New Year holiday

08:52, February 09, 2011      

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Forty people died in more than 118,000 cases of fire reported across China from February 2 to February 8, as Chinese revelers celebrated the Lunar New Year holiday with fireworks, according to a statement released Tuesday by the country's Ministry of Public Security.

The number of cases jumped from the 7,480 fires reported during last year's Spring Festival holiday, which caused losses worth 28.5 million yuan. The incidents also injured 37 people and caused more than 56 million yuan (8.5 million U.S. dollars) in damages, which is almost double the figure from last year.

However, this year's losses did not include a case in northeastern Liaoning Province where a five-star hotel in the city of Shenyang was set ablaze by fireworks on February 3.

The fire, which caused no casualties, is possibly the country's largest fireworks accident during this year's Spring Festival celebrations.

According to the statement, some 260,000 police and fire fighters across the country were mobilized for 24,800 fire control missions.

The personnel rescued more than 1,600 people and evacuated tens of thousands. Fire departments have been strengthening monitoring of high-rise buildings, shopping malls, markets, construction sites and other crowded or vulnerable locations.

Also, a total of 173 companies were suspended from operating for failing to meet fire prevention and control standards, according to the ministry.

Source: Xinhua
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