A court yesterday began hearing the case against seven people charged over February's deadly shopping centre blaze in Jilin that killed 54 people and injured another 70. Prosecutors have charged Yu Hongxin , an employee at an electronics store in the Zhongbai Shopping Mall, with starting the fire by discarding a cigarette butt in a storeroom. Security personnel Ma Chunping , Li Aimin , Chen Zhong and Cao Mingjun are accused of neglecting their duties. Chen and Cao allegedly left their posts and failed to lead people to safety. The mall's manager, Liu Wenjian , and his deputy, Zhao Ping , are also facing charges. In April, Gang Zhanbiao , the then mayor of Jilin, resigned over the fire, which caused losses of more than 4 million yuan. The Chuangying District Court expects to issue verdicts next week.