Chinese state media reports a fire in a clothing factory in Shantou City, Guangdong, killed 14 people, from AP:
The Southern Metropolis Daily said in an online report that the victims were all women aged 18-20.
It said the cause of the fire was arson, according to an initial police and fire investigation.
Senior provincial officials set up a team to investigate the cause of the fire and step up safety measures to avoid similar fatal fires, Xinhua said in its brief report. The factory made underwear, it said.
According to Xinhua, the suspect responsible for the fire has been arrested:
A suspect has been arrested for setting fire to an underwear factory in south China’s Guangdong Province that left 14 people dead and one more injured Tuesday, according local police authorities.
An initial investigation showed that the fire at the factory in Chaonan district in the city of Shantou was an arson fire and a suspect surnamed Liu has been arrested, the Shantou public security bureau said in a statement late Tuesday.
Local police authorities are further investigating the case.
Although the cause of the fire was attributed to arson, Reuters reports on China’s patchy history with fire safety regulations:
China has a patchy record on fire safety. Fire exits are often locked or blocked and regulations can be easily skirted by bribing corrupt officials.
A fire at a nightclub in Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong, killed 44 people in 2008. A senior policeman was later jailed for taking bribes to allow the unlicensed venue to remain open.
See also Han Han on a fire in Shanghai in 2009, via CDT.