Five people, including the vice-mayor, have been killed in a hotel fire in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. Along with vice-mayor Lin Xuancai, the victims included the deputy director of the city's External Affairs Office, Wang Anming, Beijing Malanxin Hotel deputy manager Xi Ziyi and a Jining government official who was staying at the hotel for a conference. Seventeen people were injured in the blaze, according to Xinhua. The fire broke out in the Royal Capital Dance Hall on the first floor the Hohhot Hotel at 11.30pm on Wednesday. Hohhot Fire Department Commissioner Zhang Xuerong said 36 trucks and 258 firefighters battled the fire, which was put out about five hours later. The Hohhot Public Security Bureau refused to comment on the fire, saying only that it was under investigation. But the China News Service reported that officials had created a special taskforce headed by the vice-chairman of the regional government, Wang Fengqi, to determine the cause of the blaze. Witnesses said the fire had engulfed the 48-year-old Russian style wooden building. Rescue efforts were hampered by heavy smoke. 'The building was blanketed in smoke and ash,' a firefighter said. 'We couldn't see anything.' By the morning, most of the two-storey building had been destroyed and the roof had collapsed. But a hotel clerk said other sections of the hotel remained open. By early yesterday, senior officials assessing the scene included the chairman of the Inner Mongolia Government, Uyunqimg, deputy party secretary Yang Liming and party chief Ren Yaping, according to Xinhua. The suspicious circumstances of the fire in Hohhot follow a fire in July, last year, in Shantou, Guangdong, where government officials were also killed.