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Beijing hospital fire death toll rises to 29, director detained

The number of people killed in the hospital fire in Beijing, the capital of China, has now reached 29, according to a city official.

On Tuesday at around 1 pm (5 am GMT), a fire broke out at the Beijing Changfeng Hospital in the Fengtai District. It was put out around 30 minutes later.

The district’s deputy mayor, Li Zongrong, gave his “deep condolences” while announcing the increased toll during a news conference.

According to Sun Haitao of Beijing’s public security bureau, 12 people—including the facility’s director have been detained in relation to the incident. He also mentioned that individuals from a firm refurbishing the hospital were among those being detained.

According to a preliminary investigation, which was reported by the state broadcaster CCTV, the fire was started by “sparks generated during the internal renovation and construction of the inpatient department of the hospital.”

According to CCTV, the sparks “ignited the volatiles of the flammable paint on the site.”

On Tuesday, videos of people sitting on outdoor air conditioners and hanging onto ropes as they jumped from the building were shared on social media.

According to Li, there were 13 men and 16 women killed. He told reporters, “We feel profound regret and guilt.

“I hereby express our deep condolences for the victims, express our sincere respect to the families of the victims, the injured, and their relatives, and apologize to the people of the entire city on behalf of the Fengtai district party committee and district government.”

39 Hospitalized

According to CCTV, of the 29 people who died, 26 were hospital patients, two were hospital employees, and one was a patient’s relative.

According to CCTV, 78 patients were still receiving care at the hospital and had been transferred to the west building.

State-run According to People’s Daily, as of Wednesday morning, 39 people were being treated for injuries at the hospital, and three more had been released.

Leading municipal officials paid a visit to the hospital soon after the incident, with Beijing party secretary Yin Li promising to “quickly identify the cause of the accident and hold the relevant responsible persons accountable”, according to the Beijing Daily.

A considerable number of police officers were stationed outside the hospital’s entrance on Wednesday, prohibiting people from snapping pictures. Dozens of bystanders could be seen there.

Soot markings could be seen on some of the hospital’s windows, which appeared to be blackened, and on at least one damaged window.

According to a separate story published on Wednesday by the China Youth Daily, many patients’ families have lost touch with them, and the majority of those still missing are elderly persons with mobility issues.

The city “will probably make the appropriate arrangements” to care for the victims’ families, a police officer on the site on Wednesday told AFP.

The Beijing Changfeng Hospital is situated about 25 minutes by vehicle from Tiananmen Square in the western metropolitan district of the capital.

Due to low safety regulations and enforcement, deadly fires are a typical occurrence in China.

Ten people perished in an apartment building fire in northwest Xinjiang in November, which sparked demonstrations against Covid-19 lockdowns that were held responsible for impeding rescue operations.

Additionally, 38 people perished in a factory fire in central China in November, which was also blamed on unlawful welding by workers.

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