Manager dies while evacuating blazing cinema in C. China

Updated: 2007-07-05 16:00

HENGYANG -- The manager of a central China cinema died on Wednesday as he tried to evacuate the complex during a fire.

Deng Hengqi is the only confirmed death so far from the blaze that engulfed the Jinbu Cinema building in Hengyang City, Hunan Province, at 8:40 p.m., according to the city government's publicity office.

Deng, who was on duty at the time, died as he helped more than 100 people, including many children, to evacuate from the five-storey building in downtown Hengyang.

With a fire extinguisher in his right hand, Deng's body was recovered by firefighters at about 2:00 a.m. on Thursday. His body had no burns and he is believed to have suffocated.

The building was built in 1979. The first floor is leased for small shops and the second and third floors are the cinemas. The top two floors contain 23 apartments.

Firefighters managed to put out the fire by 3:00 a.m. on Thursday and about 6,000 square meters of floor space had been destroyed. Emergency service personnel are searching the debris.

Local residents said movies were being screened when the fire broke out and there were about 120 movie-goers.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

A blast at a karaoke parlor in northeast China's Liaoning Province killed 25 and injured 33 on Wednesday night.

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