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China orders city-wide investigation after 19 people died in fire

Staff Writer |
Cai Qi, secretary of the Communist Party of China Beijing Municipal Committee, has ordered a city-wide safety check after a deadly fire killed 19 people and injured eight others.

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A fire broke out on Saturday night at a three-story apartment at Xinjian Village, Daxing District in the southern suburb. A total of 19 people died. Eight people were sent to hospital, and seven of them have been out of danger.

Preliminary investigation showed there was a refrigeration facility in the basement of the apartment, where fire was likely to have started, fire fighters said. Fire fighters said there was heavy smoke in the building but no large flames.

Cai Qi and acting mayor Chen Jining led other officials to the site of the fire on Sunday morning and stood

in silent tribute to the victims. On Sunday afternoon, Cai convened a city-wide conference.

"Lessons of the fire is extremely grave. The city must be on high alert. We must take actions and protect people's lives and safeguard the safety and stability of the capital," he said.

Cai ordered a clean-up of industrial compounds, illegal construction and disorderly venues in order to eliminate fire risks.

Local officials must check every village and every courtyard for security risks, he said.

An investigation team has been set up to ascertain the cause of the fire and punish those who are responsible.

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