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Suspect accused in mall fire that claimed 10 lives

By Zha Minjie (Shanghai Daily)

08:55, July 16, 2012

A SUSPECT accused of having a role in the inferno in a shopping mall that left 10 people dead and another 16 injured in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin has been turned over to judicial authorities, the Tianjin government said yesterday.

The authorities are also investigating other people suspected of being culpable in the fire on June 30, but they did not say how many.

The last seven injured in the fire several weeks ago were discharged from the hospital, the local government said yesterday.

Tianjin police said an electrical short circuit caused the mall fire, which left 10 people dead and 16 others injured.

The fire engulfed a five-story mall in Jixian County, killing eight mall workers, a home textiles saleswoman and a customer.

Investigators found that the short circuit in an air conditioner's power line in a warehouse on the first floor of the Laide Shopping Mall kindled flammable materials, triggering the fire, official sources said.

The incident was heatedly discussed online as some Internet users claimed the death toll was much larger, topping 370. The claims were dismissed as rumors by police.

Several people who spread rumors on the Internet about the death toll were punished.

The offenders, their number unspecified by the local media, admitted to making up an exaggerated number of casualties and pretending to be police officers and witnesses when they posted their false information on the Internet.


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