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Man dies in apartment fire in Baoshan District

A migrant worker was killed in a residential blaze in Baoshan District about 1:10pm yesterday.

The body of the 47-year-old Anhui Province native, surnamed Han, a tenant living on Fulian Road in Gucun Town, was discovered by firefighters after they had put out the fire half an hour later.

The fire started in Han's ground-floor room, and soon engulfed an area of around 100 square meters, damaging another four rooms.

Neighbors said Han was a smoker and drank heavily. They said he often went to bed around noon after drinking. The fire authority speculated that if Han was smoking in bed and fell asleep, a lit cigarette could have started the fire, but the exact cause is still under investigation.

This year, 17 people have been killed in house fires, a rise of over 80 percent compared with the same period last year, Vice Mayor Shen Jun said yesterday in a work meeting on fire safety.

The number of fires in the first two months of this year was about the same as last year, but the death toll was much higher, said a spokesman with the city's fire authority.

Improper use of electrical appliances, fireworks and gas leaks in apartments started most of the fires, the fire authority said.

"The majority of those killed were elderly, children or migrant workers," Shen said. "There is an urgent need to improve their knowledge of fire safety and how to escape if a fire starts."

The city fire authority said it will spend more time renewing or installing fire control facilities in high-rise apartments this year. Officers will also inspect public venues that are being decorated to make sure their decoration materials are not flammable.


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