BEIJING (AP) — A fire at an apartment building in northwest China’s Xinjiang region has killed 10 people and injured nine, authorities said Friday, in the country’s second major blaze. this week, which left 48 dead in total.
The blaze broke out on Thursday evening in the regional capital of Urumqi, where temperatures dipped below freezing after dark.
The flames spread upward from the point of origin on the 15th floor to the 17th floor, with smoke rising as far as the 21st floor, according to multiple state media. The fire took about three hours to extinguish.
Deaths and injuries were caused by inhaling toxic fumes, and those taken to hospital are all expected to survive, according to reports. An initial investigation appears to show the fire was started by a power strip in a bedroom in one of the 15th floor apartments, they said.
Aging infrastructure, poor security awareness and, in some cases, government corruption have led to a series of recent fires, explosions and building collapses across China, which continues to face threats. new outbreaks of COVID-19, causing lockdowns and rigid travel restrictions affecting millions of people. .
The Jixiangyuan community, where the Urumqi fire occurred, has been designated a “COVID-19 low-risk area” and residents have been allowed out of their apartments, according to reports. It was unclear if they were allowed to leave their compound.
Urumqi has not seen a recent major outbreak, with just 977 cases reported Friday, almost all of them asymptomatic. However, as in many parts of China, local officials fearful of losing their jobs are leaning towards more extreme measures to prevent outbreaks in their jurisdiction.
The tragedy comes days after 38 people died in a fire at an industrial trading company in central China caused by welding sparks that ignited cotton fabric.
Four people were arrested in connection with the blaze in Anyang city on Monday and local authorities ordered extensive safety inspections to root out potential dangers.
The Associated Press