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April 7, 2010

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Fire on ship kills 3, injures 6

A LIBERIAN cargo ship caught fire yesterday in Changxing Island, killing three workers and injuring six, local authorities said.

All the victims are confirmed to be Chinese workers.

The six injured were being treated at the intensive care unit at the city's Ruijin Hospital, mainly for second-degree burns to their heads and faces.

"Whether the patients' situation can stabilize will take two to three days to tell," said Huan Jingning, a doctor with the hospital.

The ship, which for the past two months has berthed at the shipyard owned by the China Shipping (Group) Company for remodeling, caught fire around 9am.

Where the fire started was unknown, but the cabin, with more than 10 workers inside, burned quickly.

"When we ran to check the accident, we just heard a huge sudden noise from the cabin," said a worker surnamed Jin.

"Their faces are black, and I can hardly tell their eyes," said a worker surnamed Li.

He said the eyebrows and hair of one worker were burnt when he was running out of the cabin with clothes in pieces.

Three hours later, the fire was finally under control. The three dead were killed at the scene.

Injured workers said a rupture in a pipeline on the ship ignited the fire. But the company said police are still investigating the cause.

Zhang, a worker who escaped the fire, said a large number of oil-related substances, related to the repair work, were in the cabin, which led to the quick spread of the fire. "It was suffocating there," Zhang said.


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