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27,000 tonnes of grain retrieved following NE China barn fire


08:19, June 04, 2013

BEIJING, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Local authorities have retrieved 27,000 tonnes of grain from a barn that caught fire in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province last Friday, with another 14,000 tonnes due to be retrieved over the next two days.

The China Grain Reserves Corporation (CGRC), which runs the barn, said in a Monday statement that 147,000 tonnes of subsidized grain was in storage at the barn, adding that 1,000 tonnes was consumed by the fire.

The barn, located in Huayuan Township in Lindian County, caught fire Friday afternoon. The fire spread to another 80 barns and required 20 hours of firefighting efforts to extinguish.

Cao Binghan, deputy commander of the local rescue headquarters, said the fire was triggered by a short circuit, adding that it incurred 3 million yuan (489,000 U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses.

No casualties were reported.

The State Administration of Grain issued an emergency circular Monday, asking CGRC to make strong efforts to correct its practices. Local grain authorities should strengthen supervision, it added.

The accident reflects the company's negligence of safety standards and lack of accountability, it said.

With summer grain harvests approaching, local authorities should ensure that barns, particularly subsidized grain barns and those in the open air, are protected from floods and pests.

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