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November 24, 2010

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'Fire hazard' stalls in lobby are banned

STALL-HOLDERS who were allowed to set up business in the lobby of a downtown residential block have been told to shut up shop as they are a fire and security hazard.

A property owners' committee that agreed for retailers to open temporary stalls in the building has been told to reverse their decision.

The Changning District People's Court ruled the committee's decision violated property owners' interests.

Judges said the presence of the stalls in a residential community on Fahuazhen Road posed a danger to fire control and public security - all the more pertinent in the aftermath of last Monday's blaze in a Jiaozhou Road high-rise that left at least 58 dead.

The committee decided - with the required backing from residents - in November 2009 to let retailers set up stalls in the lobby. Rent was to be spent on renovations. However, one owner, surnamed Wang, argued that this not only violated his right to use the lobby and devaluated his property but also posed dangers to fire control and public security.

Judges inspecting the building agreed, saying stockpiled goods and people gathered would hinder evacuation in the event of an emergency.


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