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NE China barn fire engulfs 1,000 tonnes grain


15:29, June 03, 2013

HARBIN, June 3 (Xinhua) -- A fire that ripped through a large grain storage center in northeastern China's Heilongjiang Province on Friday has engulfed 1,000 tonnes of grain stocks including corn, rice and soybean, investigators said on Monday.

Cao Binghan, deputy commander of the rescue headquarters, said on Monday that the fire triggered by a short circuit has incurred 3 million yuan (489,000 U.S. dollars) of economic losses.

It was spotted at one barn in Huayuan Township of Lindian County, a major grain base in China, around 1:15 p.m. on Friday. Strong winds and high temperatures helped it to eventually spread to 78 barns, with a total grain reserve of 47,000 tonnes. It was finally contained at 4:30 p.m..

The grain storage center is operated by the Heilongjiang branch of the China Grain Reserves Corporation.

Cao said that the company has arranged 500 trucks to transport the remaining grain stocks to other barns for storage.

Investigators tracked the origin of the fire to a power distribution box near one of the grain bins in the first barn to be set alight. They sent material evidence to a professional fire evaluation center affiliated to the Ministry of Public Security.

Investigation and identification results showed that sparks from a broken wire ignited reed mats and sacks nearby, and finally caused the barn fire.

On Monday, nine people, including the barn's director Gao Yanping, were transferred to the local public security bureau, charged with the crime of negligence in a major-liability accident, said Lindian County's public security bureau.

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