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Blaze residents return

ALL 626 residents evacuated after Monday night's massive fire at the China Central Television (CCTV) complex in Beijing went home yesterday.

The fire involved a 30-story building that housed a nearly completed luxury hotel and part of the new headquarters of the state television network in the city's Chaoyang District.

One fireman died and seven people, including six firemen and a construction worker, were injured in the fire.

More than 600 people living in three residential buildings nearby were evacuated on Monday night.

Gao Yonghong, a government employee in charge of community affairs in the area, said damage to the residences was being investigated.

"We will provide repairs free of charge if their doors, windows or water, power and heating facilities were damaged."

The fire was caused by fireworks. CCTV had hired a fireworks company to ignite several hundred festive firecrackers outside the hotel on Monday night, the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival that ends the Lunar New Year holiday.

The fireworks should not have been set off without approval from the municipal government, said Luo Yuan, a spokesman and deputy chief of the Beijing Fire Control Bureau. Police had tried to intervene but were ignored.

The people who lit the fireworks are being questioned.


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