A high-level investigation team blamed Monday's catastrophic fire in Shanghai on multiple subcontracting of construction works and on lax safety management. The blaze - which rapidly engulfed the 28-storey building and took firefighters more than four hours to control - left at least 53 people dead and scores more in hospital. The apartment building was being fitted with energy-saving external insulation at the time. The State Council investigation team - headed by Luo Lin, director of the State Administration of Work Safety - said preliminary findings showed workers had illegally used a large amount of flammable nylon webbing and polystyrene. The materials caused the fire to spread rapidly, the team said. It also found workers had been rushing to meet project deadlines. Two unlicensed welders had triggered the fire and fled the scene. The State Council has launched a nationwide tightening of fire prevention and safety measures in the wake of the catastrophic fire. The cabinet's notice - published yesterday morning just after midnight - ordered all national and local organs to 'take a step forward in fire prevention work' in the run-up to the high-risk cold-weather period and with particular focus on construction sites and high-rise buildings. The directive came as relatives in Shanghai continued to search for missing loved ones, and public demonstrations of grief began to gather momentum. Shanghai authorities have not released an official number of missing people following the fire, but local media reports yesterday referred to lists with 'more than 40 names' of people whom relatives were trying to find. Xinhua issued a brief statement yesterday saying DNA tests on remains recovered from the building had identified 26 of the dead. The fire has sent a shiver down the spine of the more than 20 million residents of Shanghai, prompting many to question the city's preparedness to cope with big emergencies. A steady flow of mourning family members and concerned locals arrived at the charred remains of the building yesterday afternoon, laying flowers and wreaths on the street outside with simple bows. Thousands of onlookers crowded on the pavement across the road for the second day in a row, many driven by morbid curiosity. 'That doesn't look fun at all,' murmured one elderly Shanghai resident, looking at the scorched tower. 'I don't live nearby, but I just felt a strong urge to see it myself. 'I can't imagine how anyone got out of there alive.' Many onlookers struggled to contain their anger at the authorities, whom they blamed for the disaster through lax enforcement of fire regulations and for taking so long to get the blaze under control. 'Look at that - that's the product of our nation's rapid economic development,' snarled one when approached, before being quickly silenced by his companions. There was evidence that the State Council's directive had had some impact on fire safety awareness - at least in the immediate aftermath of the fire: shiny new fire extinguishers could be seen hanging from the corners of scaffolding around houses just a block from the disaster site. Shanghai police announced on Tuesday that they had detained eight suspects in relation to 'unlicensed welding', cited as the cause of the fire in preliminary investigations. No details have been released regarding the suspects' identities and what work they were doing on the building ahead of the blaze. A survey published by the city's official news portal, Eastday.cn, found low awareness of basic fire safety among local residents. Almost one in four respondents said that they were 'completely clueless' about fire prevention, while nearly 84 per cent said they had never participated in a fire drill. A report by the Shanghai Morning Post found that 'many' residents in five high-rise complexes had 'never come across a fire extinguisher and did not know how to use one'.