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Building owner held after deadly fire

Time: 2017-12-14 12:07  From :HZResearch  Author:HZResearch

Five people died and nine were injured in a building fire in Beijing's Chaoyang district early on Wednesday morning. Local authorities said the fire was caused by electric bicycles being charged.

The fire in Shibalidian township was reported at 1:18 am, according to the municipal fire department.

Police detained the owner of the building on Wednesday.

Firefighters were able to rescue nine people trapped by the blaze. They were taken to the hospital for injuries that are not life-threatening.

According to the fire department, the structure was built by a local resident and had four floors with more than 30 small rental rooms of less than 10 square meters each. There was only one exit on each floor.

The roof and walls were a sort of sandwich - metal sheets with foam between them. They release toxic gas if burned, according to a firefighter.

City officials have urged a thorough safety overhaul of illegally operated business venues and rental houses in Beijing.

The fire department said the two electric bicycles were on the ground floor and blocked the exit, making it more difficult for people to escape. The bikes were connected by extension cords to an outlet on the second floor.

A firefighter was quoted by Beijing News as saying that electric bicycles are not allowed in building passageways and should be charged outdoors on individual charging poles.

The fire occurred less than a month after an apartment fire killed 19 in the city's southern Daxing district on Nov 18. That fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring.

Xinhua contributed to this story.


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