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Fire at building in northern China kills 25 and leaves scores in hospital

Firefighters evacuated at least 63 people from a four-storey building in Shanxi province (Screengrab/ Weibo)
Firefighters evacuated at least 63 people from a four-storey building in Shanxi province (Screengrab/ Weibo)

At least 25 people died and dozens were hospitalised after a fire engulfed a building in northern China’s Shanxi province on Thursday.

The fire started at 6.50am local time at a four-storey building owned by Yongju Coal Industry in the city of Lüliang, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

At least 63 people were evacuated from the building and 51 were rushed to the Lüliang First People’s Hospital. It was unclear whether the 25 dead were among that figure.

The fire ripped through the second floor of the building, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Images shared on social media showed the bright flames engulfing the entire floor as thick smoke continued to rise from the building.

Rescue work was underway and the cause of the fire was being investigated, according to the state broadcaster.

Shanxi is China's top coal-producing hub, where factory owners have often been criticised for their lax safety standards and poor enforcement.

At least 11 people died in July after the roof of a school gym collapsed in China's Heilongjiang province.

A month earlier, 31 people died in an explosion at a barbecue restaurant in northwestern China that prompted a nationwide campaign to promote workplace safety.

In April, 29 people were killed as a fire ripped through a hospital in Beijing, leading to rare criticism of local authorities on social media sites.

At least 38 people were killed in a fire at a factory in China’s Anyang City in Henan province in November 2022.