According to a report from local government officials, not less than 19 people have been killed in a fire at a resort hotel in China’s northeast city of Harbin.

As reported by state television, the fire in the early hours of Saturday, which started from a four-story Beilong Hot Spring in Harbin’s Sun Island recreation centre, the fire lasted for about three hours before it was contained by a team of 105 firefighters with 30 fire trucks.

16 people have been found dead and three more died at a hospital, while 18 people were injured and a total of 70 evacuated from the scene of incidence by firefighters, reported by the city government and provincial fire department on their social media accounts.

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The Xinhua News Agency said the reason for the incidence is under investigation.
Saturday’s disaster added to a number of fire incidence that has raged China despite official efforts to improve public safety over the past two decades.

Harbin, with about 5 million people, is the second-largest city in China’s northeast, after Shenyang. It is known for the Russian architecture of its inner city and as the site of a winter festival with sculptures made of ice blocks cut from the Songhua River.

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The ruling Communist Party has tried to improve fire safety following deadly blazes at hotels, shopping malls and apartment buildings. But the country still suffers major fires.

In November, a fire blamed on faulty wiring at a Beijing apartment building killed 19 people.

A 2010 blaze at a Shanghai apartment tower killed at least 58 people. Authorities blamed sparks from a welder’s torch.

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