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November 21, 2013

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Fires, casualties more than double in city

Fires in Shanghai this year have more than doubled — in number and in casualties — compared to the same period last year, officials said yesterday.

Till Tuesday, there were 8,380 incidents of fires, which killed 59 people and injured 71, said Zhao Zixin, director of the Shanghai Fire Prevention Bureau. Zhao added that the economic losses from the fires were more than 100 million yuan (US$16.4 million).

Till November 6 last year, the figures were: 3,175 blazes, 25 killed and 39 injured.

For 12 months in 2012, Shanghai had reported 4,478 fires and 84 casualties.

Huang Rong, deputy secretary-general of the city government, said that old and shanty communities, especially on the border of several districts where migrant workers lived, were particularly hazardous.

Different departments pass responsibilities to each other and officials are reluctant to intervene.

Most of the old houses are not equipped with any firefighting equipment, Huang said.

Therefore, community officials, who are the closet to them, must pay close attention, Huang added.

Chaotic management and construction violations were also to blame. On October 4, nearly 3,000-square-meter workshop of a factory in Fengxian District caught fire, causing economic loss up to 6.9 million yuan. On November 7, workers did not follow rules and triggered fire at The Bund Financial Center.

Since Shanghai is usually dry in the winter and holidays are coming up, authorities said they will launch a series of campaigns, including intensive fire escape drills in residential communities. 



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