A deadly fire broke out in a building owned by the Yongju Coal Company in the northern Chinese city of Lvliang on Thursday, claiming the lives of 26 people and injuring at least 38, according to reports from Chinese state media. Rescue operations successfully evacuated numerous individuals from the four-story structure.
The incident unfolded in the coal-rich Shanxi province, a major coal-producing region in northern China. Videos shared on social media and broadcasted on state TV depicted intense flames and thick smoke billowing from the building. Some individuals were seen escaping by descending drain pipes.
Local media outlet Fengmian News revealed that the majority of the deceased were workers. The fire, which began around 6:50 a.m. local time, was brought under control by mid-afternoon, as reported by the local emergency management department.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for an investigation into potential “hidden risks” in key industries, emphasizing the need to safeguard lives, property, and overall social stability. Several individuals believed to be responsible for the fire have been detained, and an ongoing investigation is underway, according to state media.
Initial reports suggest that the fire originated in the shower area of a building housing offices and dormitories, according to local news outlet Hongxing News.
While the Chinese government has been actively working to enhance safety measures, industrial accidents, particularly in coal mines, remain relatively common. Shanxi, the country’s leading coal-producing province, is a focal point in government initiatives aimed at reducing the nation’s reliance on coal.
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This tragic incident follows previous incidents, including a hospital fire in Beijing in April that claimed 29 lives, sparking criticism against authorities for alleged information withholding. In June, an explosion at a barbecue restaurant in Yinchuan resulted in 31 fatalities.