A senior China Central Television official was among 12 people detained for possible criminal charges over a blaze at the broadcaster's new headquarters complex in Beijing on Monday night. Four of the detainees were CCTV staff, and eight others worked for a Hunan fireworks-maker. In a statement yesterday, the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau said Xu Wei, head of the CCTV office in charge of the 5 billion yuan (HK$5.68 billion) construction project, was detained on suspicion of crimes related to the mishandling of hazardous items. Quoting unidentified sources, Xinhua said Xu was arrested immediately after the blaze that killed one fireman and injured eight others. The eight employees from the Hunan-based Liuyang Ace Fireworks, who were supervising the fireworks show, fled the site shortly after the blaze started, but were later caught in Langfang, Hebei province. No members of the company's management were available for comment, but an initial investigation found that although the factory was licensed to manage such pyrotechnic displays, CCTV's management had failed to seek the required municipal approval for the show. Li Dongsheng, head lawyer of Beijing Hengsheng Law Firm, said the fireworks could be bought legally so the suspects could face charges of accidentally starting a fire rather than charges related to hazardous items. He said both offences carried a punishment of up to seven years in jail. Wang Ximing from the Beijing Yifa Law Firm, who specialises in dereliction-of-duty lawsuits, said it was too early to say which level of CCTV's management should be held responsible for the fire. 'But there is strong indication of dereliction of duty as the fireworks display was an obvious violation of fire-safety provisions,' he said. In an apparent attempt to distance themselves from the blaze, which could see losses running into hundreds of millions of yuan, top CCTV management have said it was the CCTV construction office, a powerful department within the broadcaster's hierarchy, and not CCTV management that had flouted rules. However, questions remained unanswered yesterday over how it was possible for the show to have been recorded by four high-resolution cameras without the knowledge of senior staff, and how a department head such as Xu could have authorised a 1 million yuan fireworks show this year - the third in a row - without approval from higher authorities.