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18 dead, many hurt in massage parlor blaze

By Shi Xiaofeng | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-07 07:59

18 dead, many hurt in massage parlor blaze

A patient receives treatment at a hospital in Tiantai county, Zhejiang province, on Monday.[Hu Yuanyong/China Daily]

The owner of a foot massage parlor has been detained after a deadly fire at the location in Zhejiang province killed 18 people, local authorities confirmed on Monday.

Eight people were found dead at the scene and 10 others died later in hospital. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to local media.

The parlor, named "Zuxintang", was on the first and second floors of a six-story building in Taizhou's Tiantai county.

The sudden fire rapidly engulfed the parlor and left those inside with no time to escape.

Li Zengtao, a university student who had returned to his hometown for the Spring Festival holiday, witnessed the tragedy.

"I was visiting my grandma. I heard someone shout 'Fire! Fire!', so I ran out to see the building was ablaze. I was shocked to see people jumping from a second-floor window as smoke billowed out," Li told China Daily.

Li Weimin, a 64-year-old retired general practitioner living in the next community 50 meters away, arrived at the scene before Li Zengtao.

"Only one room on the second floor was on fire then. Several girls huddled at the window crying for help," Li Weimin said. "I opened my arms and told them to jump."

Three women and one man jumped from the window, with some suffering broken bones, but all of them surviving.

Mao Yonglao, a young masseur who had been working at the parlor for just 10 days with his wife and sister-in-law, saved six people from the fire.

"When I heard someone shouting 'Fire!', I opened the door to see the corridor and stairway were full of black smoke," Mao said.

Mao smashed a glass window with his fist before turning back to search for his wife.

"I could barely open my eyes. When I ran into someone, I pulled them toward the window and told them to jump," he said.

Mao found that his wife and sister-in-law were among the people who he helped.

Those who jumped from the 6-meter-high window survived the incident, but most suffered injuries such as a broken heel, pelvis, backbone or lumbar, said Zhu Danjie, a doctor at Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital's department of orthopedics.

One of the 18 injured is in a severe condition, having suffered burns to 99 percent of his body, including third-degree burns to 95 percent of his body.

The 26-year-old patient, surnamed Zhu, was transferred to the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University at noon on Monday, according to Han Chunmao, director of the hospital's burns department.

"The patient will be in a critical condition for at least 100 days due to the dangers of shock and infection. We will do our best to save his life," Han said.

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