DNA tests used to identify victims

(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-01-08 08:14

URUMQI: Police are conducting DNA tests to identify two bodies recovered on Saturday from the debris of a shopping and office complex blaze in Xinjiang, officials said on Sunday.

The bodies were found by firefighters in an office on the fourth floor of the 12-story building in the regional capital of Urumqi, sources from the city government said.

It is still not known if they are the remains of the two Doowin Group workers - a man and a woman - who were reported missing. The group ran the Doowin International Plaza, which was gutted by the blaze.

The fire began on Wednesday in a mop vendor's stall and quickly engulfed the whole building, which housed more than 1,000 clothing, cosmetics and toy stalls and offices.

The blaze later spread to an adjacent 20-story hotel.

Three firemen were killed tackling the blaze, which was completely put out on Saturday afternoon.

Five engines and 20 firefighters were left on standby at the site in case the fire re-ignited.

Top managers with the Doowin Group, the parent company of the plaza, have been asked to stay in the city while investigations are under way. The property and bank accounts of the owner have also been frozen.

The fire is estimated to have cost 500 million yuan ($69 million).

Urumqi Vice-Mayor Zhang Hong said the 12-story building will have to be demolished because of the extensive damage caused.

He said the city had launched a massive inspection move on Friday to identify fire hazards in areas including open markets, shopping malls, supermarkets, gas stations, entertainment venues and schools.

Five owners or operators of two restaurants in the city's Tianshan district were detained for up to 10 days on Friday, after small fires broke out in the facilities.

A karaoke bar was ordered to suspend business for illegally removing fire-monitoring devices.



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