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Christmas Day bar fire kills 26 in China
Updated: 2005-12-26 21:28

A fire in an unlicensed restaurant bar killed 26 people and injured 11 during a Christmas Day party in southern China.

Investigators survey the site after a fire swept a bar and left 26 dead, 11 injured in Zhongshan, South China's Guangzhong Province. The fire occurred around 11:00pm Sunday night in Tanzhou township in Zhongshan, according to Xinhua reports. The cause of the accident is under investigation. [Xinhua]

More than 100 people were taking part in a prize draw when the blaze broke out at about 11:00 pm Sunday in Zhongshan, Guangdong province, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Hong Kong, said China Central Television.

The fire completely gutted the 240 square-meter (2,600 square-feet) ground-floor Tandao restaurant bar in Tanzhou township, the China Fire Services said on their website. There was no immediate information on the victims.

Sixty-seven people were rescued, and the blaze was put out in less than 30 minutes, the state television station said Monday.

The bar had been unlicensed and the owner had been detained, an official at the Zhongshan city government propaganda department told AFP.

The cause of the fire was still unclear, said the official, who declined to give his name.

"According to initial investigation, the fire started first, then an explosion probably occurred," he said.
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