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China: 13 dead after school dormitory fire in Henan province

Police stand guard after a school was engulfed by fire in Yanshanpu in China's Henan province (AFP via Getty Images)
Police stand guard after a school was engulfed by fire in Yanshanpu in China's Henan province (AFP via Getty Images)

A group of 13 schoolchildren, thought to be aged eight or nine, have died after a fire broke out in the dorms of a boarding school in China, state media has reported.

The deadly blaze started on Friday night and was put out just before midnight at Yingcai School in rural Fangcheng district in central Henan.

All of the dead were third-grade students, a teacher told Zonglan news, a state-backed media outlet from Hebei province.

One person rescued from the scene was being treated in the hospital, CCTV, China's state broadcaster said.

The dormitory room housed around 30 students, according to local reports, and the remaining 16 students were safely evacuated.

Footage of the scene showed the dorm where the fire happened was charred black even on the outside of the building.

The head of the school was taken into custody, state media reported.

Local authorities said they were investigating the cause of the fire and China's central Emergency Management Ministry dispatched a team to the scene to investigate.

The boarding school caters primarily to students in the elementary grades, though it has an attached kindergarten, according to the school's WeChat page.

Many of the boarding students come from rural areas, local media reported.

The facility is in Dushu township and is one of the school's two branches.

Fire safety remains a concern across China.

Last April, a fire in a hospital in Beijing killed 29 people and patients were forced to tie bedsheets into makeshift ropes and escape by climbing out windows.