Families of fire victims get 300,000 yuan in compensation

Updated: 2007-12-20 20:50

HANGZHOU -- All the families of the 21 people killed in an apartment block fire last Wednesday in east China's Wenzhou city have each been given 300,000 yuan ($40,760) in compensation by the local government.

The families of the 21 victims, of whom five were migrant workers, have signed compensation agreements with the Lucheng District of Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, said a spokesman of the Lucheng District government on Thursday.

The fire broke out at about 8:20 a.m. in a flower shop on the first floor of the 28-storey Wenfu Mansion building. It killed two people in the shop and 19 others on the second floor who were attending their morning exercise class in a ballroom.

Police have detained three people in connection with the fire. In custody are Wu Songdi, board chairman of the Duoduoxian Horticulture Co. Ltd., Shao Yongsen, owner of the Yuanyuan Ballroom and Zhu Xiuling, legal representative of the Duoduoxian flower shop, who fled after the fire.

Though the cause for the blaze is yet to be determined, local authorities have frozen the flower shop owner's bank account and taken two million yuan from the ballroom owner to ensure the compensation could be paid out earlier, said the spokesman.

An initial investigation found that sparks from an electrical wire in the flower shop set wrapping paper and plastic flowers alight and started the fatal fire.

Rescuers safely evacuated 213 others who were initially trapped in the building where the bottom three floors were for commercial use and the rest for apartments.

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