Mounting death toll from fire
( 2003-11-05 08:40) (China Daily)
The bodies of 17 firefighters were found Tuesday, a day after a blaze destroyed an eight-storey building in Hengyang, Central China's Hunan Province.
The death toll is expected to rise as 3 firefighters are still missing and one is in critical condition in hospital.
Two firefighters were initially reported killed in the blaze, which broke out around dawn on Monday.
Part of the building collapsed at 8:30 Tuesday morning while firefighters were trying to quell the flames, and more than a dozen were buried in the debris.
The fire was extinguished Tuesday afternoon and more than 400 residents living in the building had been safely evacuated.
The building served both commercial and residential uses.
The cause of the fire, which started in the building's basement, is still under investigation, officers with the Hengyang public security bureau said.
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