Plant bosses blamed for Shenzhen blaze

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 July, 1999, 12:00am

A faulty electrical device started a fire which razed an electronics plant in Shenzhen last month, killing 16 workers, officials said yesterday.

But they put the blame squarely on the Zhimao plant bosses for 'faulty management practices' and incompetent local cadres who falsified factory safety records, Xinhua reported.

The news agency said those responsible 'are being sought for possible criminal involvement', apparently hinting that the Government has had difficulty in pursuing legal action against the managers. The Taiwanese owners of the factory are unlikely to return to Shenzhen.

A Hong Kong-based labour group said last month that neither the factory owners nor the Shenzhen Government had approached the victims and their families to discuss compensation. At least eight workers were seriously injured in the fire.

According to Xinhua, the rectifier - an electrical current control device - of a fluorescent lamp on the ground floor of the four-storey building caused the fire.

Investigators said although the rectifier produced excessive heat which started the fire, flames spread rapidly because the factory was stacked with combustible materials.

They criticised cadres of Shangxing village, where Zhimao is located, for faking safety records so the plant could obtain a licence.

Cadres in Shajing, which oversees the village, were censured for their failure to enforce fire safety rules or conduct regular inspections.