Beijing warehouse fire leaves 12 dead

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 9:31am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 10:23am

Twelve people have been killed and at least three people injured in a nighttime blaze in Beijing on Tuesday.

Police are still investigating the cause of the fire that destroyed a warehouse in Xiaowuji village in the southeastern outskirts of Beijing’s Chaoyang district, the city’s Department of Public Security said in a statement.

The fire received a special level of attention as the city is still on high alert after a car rammed into pedestrians on Tiananmen Square and burst into flames in October, killing five and injuring more than forty people. Police later said that incident was a terrorist attack.

The Beijing News counted 54 fire engines and around 100 firefighters at the scene of the fire on Tuesday. Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun ordered no effort to be spared in the rescue operations and the prevention of further fires, Xinhua news agency said. Beijing’s Communist Party Secretary Guo Jinlong, Mayor Wang Anshun, and the director of the Municipal Public Security Bureau Fu Zhenghua visited the site of the fire.

Eyewitnesses told the Beijing News that blazes reached up to 20 metres in height. The warehouse was used for storing spare car parts, paper and other goods, the local daily reported.

The death toll rose from ten to 12, police said in weibo posts on Wednesday. One child is among those injured. Two landlords have been detained for further questioning, police said.