Home>News Center>China

53 people die in Jilin shopping centre fire
By Wu Yong (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-02-16 07:49

At least 53 people were killed and 71 injured as a fire engulfed a downtown plaza at noon Sunday in the city of Jilin of Northeast China's Jilin Province, said a senior official from the local information office.

The blaze broke out around 11:30 am in a storeroom near the boiler room on the second floor of the four-storey Zhongbai Commercial Plaza. The plaza has shops, a bathhouse, a poolroom and a dance hall, said Zhang Jianguo, senior official from the local information office.

Being Sunday, there were many people in the building.

Shortly after the fire broke out, the power was cut off. In the darkness, people could not find ways out, said one resident surnamed Yan who was nearby.

Many people jumped out the windows to escape the blaze.

The local government stepped in shortly after to look after the wounded.

"The government is in charge of the whole salvage action. We have and will try our best to save the wounded people," said Yu Fumian, director of the information office of Jilin city.

The wounded people have been sent to three local hospitals, Jilin No 3 Renmin Hospital, Jilin Central Hospital and Jilin Fushu Hospital.

"We have taken in 16 severely wounded patients which the No 3 hospital could not handle. The operations are still going on," said one nurse from Jilin Central hospital who declined to give her name.

She told China Daily that the majority of the patients broke bones when they jumped from the third and fourth floor of the building.

"Most of the victims jumped out the window to escape the fire. The second killer was carbon monoxide. Only several people were burned to death," she added.

The hospital president had to call all doctors and nurses back to help with the wounded.

At the scene, firefighters put out the fire within four hours but were still searching the building for more victims yesterday afternoon.

Niu Haijun, vice-governor of Jilin Province, rushed to the site to direct the search and salvage action.

Around 260 firefighters were called in. The fire was put out around 3:40 pm.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. Police have summoned three dozen people for questioning.

Also arriving are officials from the State Administration for Safe Production Supervision based in Beijing.

Local officials are looking for the manager of the building.

Another fire broke out on Saturday in one chemical plant in the same city. But no deaths were reported.

Just three hours after the fire in Jilin, another fire killed at least 39 pilgrims and injured four others in Haining of East China's Zhejiang Province.

The fire at a temple in the city's Wufeng Village occurred about 2:15 pm when pilgrims were worshipping. It was extinguished about half an hour later, police said.

Senior officials including provincial Governor Lu Zushan, vice-governors Zhang Mengjin and Wang Yongming, and director of the Zhejiang Province Department of Public Security Wang Huizhong had rushed to the scene to investigate and guide the rescue work.

  Today's Top News     Top China News

CCTV restructuring proof of media reform



Bank of China floating huge bond offering



Jilin governor apologizes for fatal blaze



Moscow police stop raiding Chinese stalls



Senator Kerry blasts Bush, leads in primary



U.S. navy jet fighter F18 is for sale on eBay


  Jilin governor apologizes for fatal blaze
  4-year-old Hong Kong boy survives 7-story fall
  Chinese diplomats in Iraq to reopen embassy
  Traffic dead down from last year in Guangdong
  Gender bias affects male kindergarten teachers
  Moscow police stop raiding Chinese stalls
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Shopping center fire in Jilin kills 53, injures 71
Luoyang hotel fire kills 7, injures 17
Hospital fire in Wuhan kills at least five people
Forest fire kills 11 in Guangxi
Overcrowded bus fire kills 12 people
China's road, fire accidents decrease in 2003
Dormitory fire in Shenyang
  News Talk  
  What do you think Western view about China?