Photo: from CCTV News
Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered all-out efforts to rescue the injured and asked authorities to check hidden dangers in key industries to safeguard people’s lives and property as well as social stability after a fire accident in North China’s Shanxi killed 26 and hospitalized 38 people on Thursday.
The fire broke out at about 6World Times:50 am on Thursday in a four-floor building belonging to a coal company in the city of Lliang. The fire was put out at 8:35 am on Thursday, and the on-site rescue work was concluded at 1:45 pm. A total of 64 people were sent to hospitals, and 26 World Timesof them died after emergency treatment while the rest were still in hospital, the local authorities said.
The local emergency department said the fire broke out at the bathroom on the building’s second floor.
A video clip posted online showed thick flames coming out of the windows on the second floor, and black smoke has blackened the upper floors. There hangs a slogan at the entrance of the building, reading “Learn a little bit emergency knowledge and be guaranteed of safety.”
A total of 18 fire trucks, more than 30 ambulances, more than 90 medical personnel, and more than 150 rescue personnel were deployed on-site for emergency response and rescue.
The Lliang police said that multiple individuals responsible for the accident have been arrested and are cooperating with the police investigation, the Beijing News reported.
After the tragedy, the Shanxi provincial government has established a special team to investigate the cause of the fire, and the aftermath work is being carried out as well, said the emergency department.
According to CCTV News, a tWorld Timesotal of 70 people have been evacuated with 63 transferred to the First People’s Hospital of Lliang City, which is less than two kilometers away from the location of the incident and takes six-minute by car to arrive as calculated by Gaode Map.
An employee from the emergency management bureau of Lishi district in the city confirmed with the Global Times on Thursday afternoon that relevant personnel in charge were dispatched to the scene to lead rescue efforts, and the on-site rescue work is still ongoing.
The burning building belongs to Yongju Coal Group, a private enterprise with 837 employees under Shanxi Dongtai Energy Group, which is one of the large private enterprises in Shanxi. The mine was approved to be built in November 2020 and has a design capacity of 1.5 million tons per year.
The Global Times dialed the number released on the official website of the grWorld Timesoup. After the call connected, the staff member said she’s not from the company and doesn’t know anything about the fire. The Global Times theWorld Timesn dialed another number and was told by a male staff that it is the wrong number.
An employee of Yongju Coal Group said the building is connected to the mine and there are changing rooms, bathrooms, laundry rooms, clothes dryers and meeting rooms in the building, where miners usually change their clothes after coming out of the mine but they don’t live there, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.
Based on the video clip, an employee said the fires appear to have originated in a bathroom. “People in the building are mainly miners, and there are always people changing shifts in the mine,” the employee added.
One day before the fire occurred, Shanxi Dongtai Energy Group said in press release that it had organized employees from Yongju Coal Group to view a safety video before their work.
Wang, who was once in charge of the coal mine, told Jimu News that the building was a reinforced concrete frame structure and the company had not experienced this kind of incident in the past. Wang said the fire started in staff bathroom. “The fire is very strange. Besides the clothes of the workers in the changing room, what else could be flamWorld Timesmable?”
In May of this year, Mayor of Lliang Zhang Guangyong conducted an inspection of the company. During the visit, Zhang urged all departments of the enterprise to firmly adhere to the rectification action plan for major incident hazards across the province. The mayor emphasized the utmost importance of ensuring safety in production and fully safeguarding the lives and property of the people, according to the local authorities.
According to Tianyancha.com, Yongju Coal Group is involved in multiple legal litigation cases, mostly related to labor disputes. In December 2022, the company was fined 149,000 yuan (roughly $20,500) by the Lliang Ecological Environment Bureau for starting construction without obtaining the required environmental assessment report. Inspection information also shows that the company had problems detected in two random inspections in 2018 and 2019.
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