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September 24, 2011

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Pair investigated after hotel blaze

TWO people were the object of an investigation yesterday after a broken gas pipeline on Thursday night caused a blast that set the luxury Jia Hotel on fire, local authorities said.

An excavator driver and his supervisor are believed to have broken the underground pipeline on Taixing Road during a construction project for the power company. No injuries were reported.

The hotel launched a renovation project yesterday after its sprinkler system, balconies, most of its windows and the outdoor grounds were damaged by the fire. It plans to reopen on October 12, said an announcement on the hotel website.

"Jia Shanghai sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience caused to our guests," the announcement read.

The fire broke out at 6:55pm and soon spread to the hotel. Customers and diners were evacuated before most of the six-floor building was enveloped in flames. Guests have been accommodated at other hotels.

Also impacted by the accident were a neighboring restaurant that was partly damaged and some of the nearby shops, including the clothes chain store H&M, which did not open for business yesterday.

The European-style building, erected in the 1920s, once housed government officials and was transformed into the hotel in 2008.


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