Fires kill over 1,500 Chinese in 2006

Updated: 2007-01-02 08:55

BEIJING -- Nearly 223,000 fires occurred in China last year, leaving 1,517 people dead and 1,418 injured, the Ministry of Public Security announced on Monday.

"The number of fires decreased by 5.6 percent from the previous year, the death toll down by 39.3 percent and the number of injured dropping by 43.5 percent," said a spokesman for the ministry's fire control bureau.

Fires caused 784 million yuan (98 million U.S. dollars) in losses, down 42.6 percent over 2005, he said.

Fire control in rural area was further strengthened, with nearly 74,000 fires, about one third of the total, occurred in the countryside last year, which saw a big drop over 2005, according to the bureau.

The ministry attached more importance last year to boosting the public's awareness of fire control and self-protection by promoting fire education in schools, communities, villages and companies.

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