19 killed in China hotel fire

Harbin: At least 19 people were killed on Saturday in a hotel fire in Harbin, capital of China’s Heilongjiang province, officials said.

The fire started at 4.36 a.m. at Beilong Hot Spring Leisure Hotel in Songbei district. At least 100 people were evacuated from the facility and the blaze was put out at 7.50 a.m, Xinhua news agency reported.

Firemen found 18 bodies at the site while a person died later in a hospital. Twenty three injured people were undergoing treatment. The cause of the fire was being investigated.

The Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) sent a work team to Harbin to guide the investigation and the municipal government launched a city-wide safety inspection.

The deputy director of the MEM’s fire control bureau demanded safety checks to prevent fires, particularly in hotels, hospitals, senior citizen homes, kindergartens, schools, entertainment venues and tourist sites.