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November 8, 2013

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Number of city fires more than doubles

MORE than twice as many fires were reported in Shanghai over the first 10 months of this year compared to the same period in 2012.

The city recorded 7,840 blazes up to the end of October, the local fire prevention authority said at a meeting yesterday.

According to last year’s figures, a total of 3,175 blazes had been reported by November 6, with 25 people killed, 39 injured and an economic loss of 35.40 million yuan (US$5.81 million).

In the first 10 months of this year, 55 people died in blazes and 69 were injured, said the authority.

The economic loss caused by fires this year came to 94.5 million yuan.

More than 80 percent of blazes occurred in suburban areas and most victims were children, elderly people and migrant workers caught in small fires, said Gu Jinlong, deputy director of the Shanghai firefighting bureau.

Many fires were caused by electrical faults, said the official.

Bureau director Zhao Zixin said that the city’s firefighting ability has been improved, especially for old residential communities and high-rises. Residents had been most concerned about fire safety in these types of homes.

Every district has been equipped with nearly 1,000 portable fire pumps, which are vital in situations when fire engines have difficulty entering narrow lanes.

And the Chinese mainland’s first helicopter designated for firefighting in urban areas will be introduced in Shanghai early next year, Zhao said.

Pilots are training in Russia and it will be brought to Shanghai around the Spring Festival and assembled.

The main use of the helicopter, which can carry around 10 people, is to rescue people trapped in fires, Zhao said.

The 119 fire prevention promotion week begins today, with a variety of activities and events scheduled.



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