Officials sacked for deadly high-rise fire in Shanghai

08:04, June 08, 2011      

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A vice mayor of Shanghai received an administrative penalty and two senior officials were sacked in ramifications stemming from the high-rise apartment fire that killed 58 people and injured 71 others on Nov. 15, local government sources said Tuesday.

Zhang Renliang, head of Jing'an District, where the apartment building is located, and Xu Sunqing, deputy head of the district, were fired.

Vice Mayor Shen Jun, who is in charge of urban and rural construction and management, housing projects, land resources administration, water supplies, transport, and city landscaping as well as environmental protection, received a serious demerit.

A total of 26 people have been found guilty criminally in connection with the deadly fire and have been sent to judiciary institutions for punishment.

Another 28, including Vice Mayor Shen Jun, received administrative penalties or demerits in line with discipline of the Communist Party of China.

The blaze gutted the 28-story apartment building at Jiaozhou Road of Jin'an District, which was under renovation, after sparks from welding work ignited nylon netting and scaffolding. Of the 58 killed in the fire, 22 were men, including one Japanese citizen.

Luo Lin, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, blamed the tragedy on unlicensed welders, illegal multi-layered sub-contracting and poor management.

Earlier reports said the Shanghai government would pay 960,000 yuan(around 144,450 U.S. dollars) in compensation and subsidies for each of those who died in the fire.

According to Mayor Han Zheng, a city-wide inspection campaign was launched shortly after the fire to eliminate safety risks in construction projects.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development also ordered other local governments nationwide to begin a similar campaign to inspect projects under construction.

In early March, Yu Zhengsheng, the Communist Party chief of Shanghai, said that the accident was mainly caused by the "alliance of interests" between officials in charge of the urban development bureau of Jing'an District and the bureau's affiliated companies.

According to Yu, certain enterprises paid the bureau to win contracts, and he believes there are defects in the supervision of the construction market.

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