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Fires kill 93 during holidays
Updated: 2005-02-17 02:23

Firefighters throughout China extinguished 10,724 fires which had left 93 people dead and 58 others injured during the week-long Spring Festival holiday, sources with the Ministry of Public Security said Wednesday.

Firefighters make preparations to force into the site as a shop in Shanghai caught fire on February 12, 2005. [newsphoto/file]
The death toll was 43 percent less than at the same period of last year, the number of injuries dropped by 35 percent, the fire reports were also lowered by 36 percent.

According to ministry statistics, the financial loss caused by the fires topped 41.26 million yuan (4.98 million US dollars), down by 43.6 percent from a year earlier, and firefighters saved assets worth 171.3 million yuan.

Before the holiday, police enhanced the surveillance of tourist spots, public gathering sites, shopping malls, markets, entertainment venues, and construction sites, which contributed to the reduction of fires and life and property losses.

Police and firefighters said they would remain on high alert until the Lantern Festival, another major public holiday that falls on Feb. 24.

Fires during previous Lunar New Year holidays were largely caused by firecrackers, which are now banned in hundreds of major Chinese cities. Lighting firecrackers, an old ritual in China, was believed to scare away evil sprits while ringing in the new year.

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