6 Jul 2013

11 arrested after fatal fire at poultry plant

8:17 am on 6 July 2013

Eleven officials in China have been detained over a fire at a poultry plant in Jilin province that left 121 people dead.

The BBC reports the fire broke out at a slaughterhouse in Dehui early on 3 June. Those inside had trouble escaping because the exits were blocked.

It was China's deadliest fire since 2000, when 309 people died in a blaze in a dance hall in Luoyang, in Henan province.

Investigators said a short circuit ignited flammable materials at the plant, causing a blaze which spread rapidly. Dozens of other people were hurt.

The Xinhua news agency reported that the 11 officials had been arrested on suspicion of dereliction of duty.

Several fire department officials were among those detained.

"Some of the suspects ... falsified information to hide the facts that no serious fire safety inspections had been conducted and that proper fire safety equipment was not in place," Xinhua said, citing the Supreme People's Procuratorate.