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Archive for Sunday, December 18, 2005

Electrician detained in fire that killed 39

December 18, 2005

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— Chinese authorities are questioning an electrician they blame for a hospital fire that killed 39 people in a community about 400 miles northeast of Beijing.

"Initial investigation shows the fire accident was due to malpractice of an electrician, who has been detained by police," the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the city's party secretary, Zhao Zhenqi.

On Thursday, the blaze in Liaoyuan forced patients to leap from second- and third-story windows in subfreezing weather.

Authorities haven't identified the electrician or specified what he was accused of or whether he would face criminal charges.

Chinese police frequently detain people for questioning before deciding whether to file charges and formally arrest them.

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