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November 25, 2009

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Chilling fire death data

AN average of 1,046 people died annually in 76,000 winter fires in China over the past five years, the Ministry of Public Security said yesterday.

Economic losses caused by the seasonal blazes were estimated at 420 million yuan (US$61.5 million) a year, the ministry said in a statement.

Rural residents accounted for more than 60 percent of the total fire deaths, the report said, without providing a reason.

Major winter fires early this year prompted Chinese authorities to beef up safety measures and increase public awareness.

On January 31, a fire in a bar in Changle City, east China's Fujian Province, killed 15 people and injured 24.

A blaze on the night of February 9 engulfed a 30-story building that housed the nearly completed luxury Mandarin Oriental Hotel, part of the new headquarters for the state television broadcaster. The Beijing blaze killed a fireman and injured seven people.


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