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December 21, 2010

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Mother and child in tragic fall

A MOTHER died early yesterday morning after she fell from the fifth floor of an apartment building while desperately trying to save her daughter from a blaze.

The woman, surnamed Chen, died after suffering head injuries and burns in the incident at Qingpu District. Her 10-year-old child survived and was rushed to hospital, where her condition was yesterday described as serious.

The girl, surnamed Zhang, suffered head injuries and was in a coma in an intensive care unit last night, a doctor from the Qingpu branch of Zhongshan Hospital told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

She had no heartbeat when she arrived at hospital, but was revived by medics, the doctor said.

When her apartment became engulfed in flames, the woman had tried to use a quilt to lower herself and her child down to the fourth floor, a neighbor living in the opposite building said.

But she lost her balance and fell, along with her daughter, according to the neighbor. On the way down, the woman struck an air-conditioner unit outside a third-floor apartment before landing at the foot of the building on Chengzhong Road E.

The neighbor said she was woken by the sound of a window breaking about 1am.

"I saw the woman and a girl clutching the window ledge of the burning apartment, calling for help. They seemed to have nowhere to escape to, as the flames had engulfed the apartment, the witness said.

Firefighters evacuated other residents and extinguished the blaze.

The doctor said the girl was neatly dressed, rather than just wearing pajamas like her mother, suggesting that the woman had spent time getting her daughter dressed before they attempted to escape.

The mother was divorced and lived with her daughter, the girl's grandparents told the hospital.

In April, a woman was killed after falling from the 22nd floor when her apartment caught fire in the Pudong New Area.

And in November 2008, four college students died after falling off the balcony of their six-storey dormitory at the Shanghai Business School while trying to escape a fire.


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