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.
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.
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.