CHINA> Regional
Two hotel workers detained over fatal fire
Updated: 2009-01-08 14:24

HEFEI -- Police on Wednesday detained two men in connection with a hotel fire that left one local government official dead and three others injured in east China's Anhui Province.

The pair, Gao Li'an and Guo Xingqi, were workers at the Changfeng Hotel in Changfeng County where the blaze occurred on Tuesday.

Gao told police he left his dormitory on the first floor at 11:30 p.m. Monday without unplugging a water boiler, a county government spokesman said.

The boiler was a primitive electric device with one end plugged in the wall power outlet and the other end put into a thermos bottle.

Shortly after midnight, Gao allegedly asked his colleague, Guo, to fetch boiled water from his dorm. Guo took away the bottle, but forgot to unplug the boiler.

Fire broke out in their dorm at around 12:50 a.m. and spread to other rooms. Liu Zebin, a senior county official, died of asphyxiation.

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The county chief and a deputy chief were seriously injured after jumping from the windows on the fourth floor to escape the fire. Another official suffered mild burns.

None of the officials was native to Changfeng County, about 70 km north of the provincial capital Hefei, the spokesman said. "They were working here under an exchange program for a year or two and were not accompanied by their families."

The county government had arranged their lodging at Changfeng Hotel in Shuihu town at the county seat.

Other guests and employees of the hotel escaped uninjured.

The fire was extinguished after about an hour.

Changfeng is a rural county with about 800,000 people.

In November, four female college students jumped to their deaths from a dormitory at a Shanghai business school to escape a fire. Police said they, too, had used an electric water boiler.