CHINA> Regional
Residential fire kills woman
By Wang Hongyi and Shi Yingying (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-01-10 07:45

SHANGHAI: A fire swept through a shabby residential sector in the downtown area on Friday afternoon, killing an elderly woman.

The disaster in the financial hub came just a day after two men were killed and six others were injured on Thursday in two separate cases at subway construction sites.

Friday's blaze broke out at Chenghuangmiao, a downtown residential area, and quickly engulfed more than 10 houses erected on a vacant piece of land surrounded by buildings in a congested city neighborhood.

An 80-year-old woman surnamed Huang was trapped in the blaze and eventually lost her life.

"I was in the room when the fire broke out. At that time, I smelled a terrible odor, like something burning, and then someone shouted 'Fire! Fire!'" a witness surnamed Wang said.

"I switched off all the electricity immediately and ran out; meanwhile, other residents were also trooping out from houses and tumbling into the safe places," Wang recalled.

The fire was believed to have started on the second floor when a supply of fireworks was ignited, local media said without elaborating. Local police said the cause of the accident is still under investigation.