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Bus chief quits over fatal fire

THE chairman of a bus company in southwest China resigned after a fire on one of his buses killed 27 people on Friday.

Li Shuguang, chairman of the Beixing Bus Company of the Chengdu Public Transport Group Co and general manager of the group, stepped down from his posts on Sunday, according to the information office of the government of Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.

"I hope my resignation will draw society's attention to the question of safety of public transport and help make the urban public transport network safer and more convenient," Li said yesterday.

A preliminary investigation revealed that someone brought gasoline on to the bus. It is unclear if it was ignited intentionally or accidentally. Officials were expected to disclose more details at a news conference scheduled for late last night.

Overcrowding on the bus and the lack of escape windows were part of the reasons why so many people died in the fire, investigators said.

"The tragedy may reoccur if we do not address the problems," Li said.

A local government official told Xinhua news agency that there were "around 104" passengers on the bus, however, he said the figure had yet to be verified.

The State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission of Chengdu accepted Li's resignation, said Lai Siguo, a senior executive of the commission.

People held responsible for the fire will be dealt with according to the law when the official investigation is complete, he added.

The fire occurred during Friday's morning rush hour as the No. 9 bus was on its way from Tianhui Township to downtown Chengdu. In total 27 were killed and 74 others were injured.


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