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China Sees more Fatal Fire Accidents in September
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A series of fatal fire accidents occurred in China in September, killing 44 more people than the same period last year, the fire control bureau under the Ministry of Public Security announced in Beijing on Friday.

"On average, big fires broke out every other day in the country this month, causing serious losses," said Liu Jinguo, Vice-Minister of Public Security on Friday's national tele-conference to curb fire accidents.

Five children and a woman were killed after a two-storey building caught fire in Wenzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, on September 21.

Liu said four serious fires took place in the space of just three days and on September 17 alone, two fires, one in an electrical appliance store in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province, and the other in southwest China's Guizhou Province, broke out killing at least six people.

"In autumn and winter, when the weather is dry with strong winds, fires are frequent," Liu warned, citing another two fires this month, one on September 14 when 15 people burned to death in a five-storey commercial building in Huzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, the other on September 16 when an underclothing factory in Shenyang, northeast China's Liaoning Province, caught fire killing nine female migrant workers.

He called for improved public awareness of fire prevention and more efforts to crack down on arson attacks.

According to the ministry, China recorded 129,803 fire accidents from January to June this year, killing 871 people, injuring 991 and causing 394.6 million yuan (US$49.3 million) of direct economic losses.

(Xinhua News Agency September 23, 2006)

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