21 dead in Zhejiang apartment fire

Updated: 2007-12-12 16:53

Wenzhou -- An apartment building fire has killed 21 people and severely injured two others in east China's Zhejiang Province early on Wednesday.

The blaze broke out at about 8:20 am in the 28-story Wenfu Mansion in Wenzhou City, leaving 12 men and nine women dead, a spokesman with the city's fire-fighting brigade told a brief news conference Wednesday afternoon.

The fire covered about 1,270 square meters and was put out at about 11:00 am, the spokesman said.

"A total of 105 people were rescued, and 108 others were evacuated during the fire," he said. "All the people trapped in the building have been saved."

The cause of the fire is being investigated, he added, providing no further details.

Local media quoted witnesses as saying that the blaze started in a flower shop on the first floor and rapidly spread to a ballroom on the second floor. The whole building was soon engulfed in smoke.

Among the 21 victims, two were burnt to death in the flower shop, and the other 19 were poisoned and suffocated to death by smoke on the second floor. The injured people are being treated at a local hospital.

More than 200 fire fighters and 33 fire engines were dispatched to extinguish the fire.

The bottom three floors of the building are used for commercial purposes and the rest are used for residential apartments, residents said.

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