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Deadly Shanghai fire kills 10, injures 19
By Jiao Xiaoyang, Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-29 22:57

SHANGHAI: A fire which claimed the lives of migrant workers at an illegal residential building in Shanghai has been described as one of the city's deadliest tragedies in recent memory.

Bystanders gather at the factory-turned  resident building in which migrant works live in, April 29, 2005. [newsphoto] 

Ten people were killed - including a nine-year-old girl - and another 19 injured when the fire quickly razed a disused factory in the downtown area just before dawn.

Over 70 of the occupants living on upper floors clambered to safety onto the roof of neighbouring buildings.

But nearly 30 workers sleeping on the third floor woke too late.

The 19 rushed to hospital suffered injuries after leaping from windows.

"The stairs were all on fire. Many saved their lives by jumping," said an eye witness.

Twenty fire engines fought the blaze on Gaoxing Road.

The 19 injured were rushed to the Ruijin Hospital and the Shanghai No 9 People's Hospital.

Police are now investigating the cause and it is understood two men have been arrested for illegally renting the disused building to migrant workers and ignoring fire safety regulations.

According to neighbours, the building doubled-up as a recycling station. Within, on the upper floors, lived over 100 workers who are believed to come from Anhui Province.

The ground floor of the building was filled with garbage, said a local resident.

The Shanghai local government has formed a committee to investigate the tragedy.

And Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng has ordered fire and safety checks at buildings throughout the city.

(China Daily 04/30/2005 page1)

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