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Economic issues added to Beijing blaze probe

AN investigation launched by the State Council into a fire at the national television network's new building in Beijing has extended to economic issues.

Anyone involved in the mishap found guilty of misbehavior will be punished, Huang Yi, spokesman with the State Administration of Work Safety, said yesterday during an interview with Xinhua.

The fire on the night of February 9 involved a 30-story building which housed the nearly completed Mandarin Oriental Hotel, part of CCTV's new complex in the capital's central business district.

One fireman died and six firemen and a construction worker were injured in the blaze.

CCTV had hired a company to light fireworks outside the hotel that night to celebrate the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival.

"The central government is paying close attention to the fire and has asked the Beijing government to investigate," Huang said.

Working from a previous investigation, the State Council has formed a joint task force from eight of its departments for the further investigation, he added.

The investigation will not only look into the cause of the fire but also at possible economic problems.

Huang said the fire had caused major damage, but he did not give a specific figure on the cost.

The Beijing Fire Control Bureau has said it is still calculating the costs.

Twelve people have been detained for their involvement in the fire, including Xu Wei, the former head of CCTV's construction office, three employees of the construction team and eight employees of the Hunan Sanxiang Fireworks Company.


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