At least 18 dead in China hotel fire

PHOTO: Reuters

BEIJING - A fire early on Saturday (Aug 25) morning at a hot springs hotel in the far north-eastern Chinese city of Harbin killed 18 people, with 19 injured, the authorities in the city said.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation, the Harbin propaganda department of China's ruling Communist Party said on its Twitter-like Weibo account.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said the fire in the four-storey building began at 4:36am, burning an area of about 400 square metres before being extinguished after about three hours.

Footage aired by the state broadcaster showed rescue workers inside the burned-out building.

Hotel fires are common in China, where fire security regulations are routinely neglected.

In April, 18 people were killed and five more injured in a fire at a karaoke establishment in the country's south.

In November, a fire left 19 people dead and eight injured at a boarding house in Beijing. And in May 2015, 38 people were found dead in a fire at a retirement home in central Henan province.

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