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Shanghai China skyscraper Fire Kills 53China skyscraper Fire Kills 12
November 15, 2010 Monday
Residents leap from burning apartment block in Shanghai
A 30-story apartment building caught fire in Shanghai on Monday, killing at least 12 people and forcing others to jump from their windows to escape the flames, according to reports.
The building in the Jing'an District of the Chinese city was being renovated when a fire broke out at 2 p.m. local time (1 a.m. ET), the state-run Xinhua news service reported.
Xinhua said the flames quickly spread from scaffolding to the skyscraper.
Citing hospital officials, Shanghai Daily tweeted that 12 people had died and about 50 others were injured. Shanghai Daily said that about 90 people had been rescued from the site.
Witnesses said that several people had leapt from the burning building.
According to Shanghaiist.com, flames engulfed at least 10 stories of the building. It reported that the skyscraper housed many retired teachers.
video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH5-DpMObGc
Chinese state news agency says death toll in Shanghai apartment building fire rises to 53
That is only official. One report had said 90 dead.
China guards its reporting carefully. So does the USA - but few realize that.
4 held after deadly Shanghai high-rise blaze
16 November 2010
4 people have been detained following a fire in a Shanghai high-rise building that killed at least 53 people, Chinese state media report.
An initial investigation blamed unlicensed welders for starting the fire, Xinhua news agency said. Those held have not been identified.
The block, which housed teachers - many of them retired - was being renovated when it caught fire on Monday.
China's senior police chief has called for a thorough inquiry.
Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu said those responsible would be punished, Xinhua reported.
Firefighters battled for several hours to bring the blaze in the 28-storey tower block under control.
Witnesses said the fire started in a pile of construction materials and spread quickly up bamboo scaffolding, setting the whole building alight.
More than 80 fire engines were brought in and hoses had to be set-up on top of a nearby building to reach the flames.
She called her husband and said: 'It's on fire! I have escaped from the 22nd floor to the 24th floor', but then the phone got cut off and that was the last we heard from her”
Chinese TV showed people clinging to bamboo scaffolding surrounding the building as they waited to be rescued.
Mr Meng flew into Shanghai from Beijing in the early hours of Tuesday to guide rescue and relief work.
He urged local authorities to help find those still missing and to ensure the public received up-to-date information about what happened, Xinhua news agency reported.
Mr Meng said lessons should be learned to prevent similar accidents and announced that an investigation team would report directly to the Chinese cabinet.
BBC Shanghai correspondent Chris Hogg says the minister appeared to be trying to pre-empt concerns of a cover-up or an attempt by those responsible to escape justice.
As the fire took hold, flames could be seen licking the sides of the building, and a thick pall of smoke was visible several miles away.
Some survivors escaped by clambering down the scaffolding, while others struggled down smoke-filled stairwells.
Witnesses reported distressing scenes at hospitals where relatives desperately searched for missing loved ones.
More than 150 families lived in the block. Officials said more than 100 people had been rescued.
Local hospitals said they had treated at least 90 people, some of whom were seriously injured.
The number of casualties may increase as rescuers and investigators search the ruins of the apartment block, our correspondent says.
Jing'an district government is housing residents affected by the fire in nearby hotels, Xinhua reported.
One of China's commercial hubs, Shanghai has some 20m residents and has seen a frenzy of construction work in recent years.
China orders fire safety overhaul after Shanghai blaze
which killed 53
17 November 2010
China has ordered a nationwide overhaul of fire prevention measures after a blaze in a Shanghai high-rise apartment block killed at least 53 people.
The State Council - China's cabinet - said construction sites and skyscrapers would come under particular scrutiny.
Dozens are still missing after fire engulfed the 28-storey block on Monday.
Police have detained eight people on suspicion of criminal negligence. Officials have blamed unlicensed welders for starting the fire.
More than 70 people were injured in the fire, with 17 said to be in a critical condition. Thirty-six people are missing, local media reported.
DNA tests have helped identify 26 of the victims who were burned beyond recognition.
The fire reportedly started on the 10th floor which was beyond the reach of the first fire engines at the scene.
Questions are being raised about whether the building was equipped with enough fire extinguishers, and whether residents and workers had undergone fire drills.
The State Council has called for a crackdown to root out lax observation and enforcement of fire safety measures.
The order says the blaze in Shanghai was just the latest in a string of major fires.
The BBC's Chris Hogg in Shanghai says safety campaigns like this are often ordered after major disasters but they do not seem to make much difference.
In residential buildings many people are more concerned about burglaries than fire, officials say, claiming that people lock fire doors or block escape routes.
The Shanghai apartment block, which housed teachers - many of them retired - was being renovated.
It was covered in bamboo scaffolding and plastic sheeting, which was blamed for helping the fire spread quickly.
The blaze has exposed loopholes in the country's efforts to prevent major loss of life from fire, our correspondent says.
Reports suggest local newspapers have been told to tone down the criticisms in their coverage.
The Shanghai fire chief, Chen Fei, sought to deflect public criticism of the government's handling of the incident, saying firefighters had done the best they could, given the conditions.
"Residential high-rises have more flammable materials and more sources for causing fires. They have metal security doors, so rescuing people can be very difficult," he said.
One of China's commercial hubs, Shanghai has some 20 million residents and at least 5,000 high-rise blocks.
Comments posted on the internet suggest local people are now worried the authorities do not have the equipment to protect those who live in them.