China: 13 dead after school dormitory fire in Henan province


Chinese police standing outside school in Henan province
Image caption,Police were seen standing near the school in the Henan province

By Sean Seddon & Vicky Wong

BBC News

Thirteen schoolchildren aged nine and 10 are confirmed to have died after a fire broke out in a school dormitory in central China, the country’s Xinhua state news agency reported.

The deadly blaze happened on Friday night at the Yingcai School in Yanshanpu village, Henan province.

The manager of the school, near Nanyang city, has been detained and an investigation is under way.

One other person is being treated in hospital and is in a stable condition.

A teacher at the school told state-run Hebei Daily that all the victims were from the same third-grade class.

About 30 students were in the dormitory when the fire broke and the remaining students were safely evacuated. The fire was extinguished less than an hour after firefighters were alerted, Xinhua reported.

No further details about the identities of the dead or the cause of the fire were released via official channels.

Photos on state media show some windows of the dormitory building have been smashed, and the area around the school cordoned off, with police officers patrolling the scene.

According to Xinhua, the school is a privately-run school that had been operating for ten years, and caters for nursery and primary age pupils living in nearby rural areas.

The agency reported that children enrolled in the school’s nursery had already returned home for the weekend.

Fatal fires in Chinahttps are not uncommon due to lax enforcement of building and safety standards.

In November, 26 people died after a large fire ripped through an office building in Luliang City, Shanxi province.

A hospital fire in Beijing last April claimed the lives of at least 29 people – mostly patients – and triggered an investigation which saw 12 people detained by police for questioning.

Harrowing footage of the fire showed people climbing out of windows onto air conditioning units to escape the flames.

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