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Nine killed in east China fire

(Xinhua)

21:15, November 24, 2011

NANCHANG, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in a fire that broke out Thursday morning in Nanchang, the capital of east China's Jiangxi Province, has risen to nine after firefighters found two more bodies in the debris.

The local fire department said search and rescue operations are nearly complete.

The fire occurred at 3:24 a.m. on Shitou Street in the city's Xihu district. It engulfed an area of about 500 square meters before firefighters extinguished it around 6 a.m.

The accident left two people slightly injured and forced the evacuation of 150 local residents.

At least three fires have occurred in the district so far this year, as many of the district's buildings are dilapidated and built out of wood, according to the local government.

Wang Guoqiang, head of the Nanchang Public Security Bureau, said about 150,000 of the city's residents face fire risks due to living in old buildings.

The provincial government of Jiangxi announced on Thursday afternoon that it will work to eliminate fire hazards in the older areas of Nanchang.

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