18 Killed in China Hotel Fire

A fire early Saturday at a hotel in China has left at least 18 people dead and 19 injured, state media reports.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, the blaze broke out during the night at the hotel in Harbin, capital of the northeastern Heilongjiang province.

“By the latest count, 18 people have been found dead and 19 have been taken to the hospital,” the agency said, citing local authorities.

Images of the gutted hotel and spa appeared on state broadcaster CCTV, showing blackened walls, twisted metal structures and parts of the ceiling hanging precariously, AFP writes.

Those hospitalised had inhaled toxic smoke or suffered burns, CCTV said, adding that an investigation is underway into the cause of the inferno.

Deadly fires are not uncommon in China, where fire security regulations are routinely neglected.

In April, 18 people were killed and five more injured in a fire at a karaoke establishment in the country’s south.

In November, a fire left 19 people dead and eight injured at a boarding house in the capital, Beijing.

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