Shanxi vows to thoroughly investigate cause of fire that claimed 26 lives

In the aftermath of a fire at a coal mining company building in Lüliang, North China’s Shanxi Province, that killed 26 and hospitalized 38 people, local officials said they will offer all available medical care to the injured and vowed to thoroughly investigate the cause of the blaze and hold those responsible accountable.

During a meeting on Saturday, officials of the Shanxi Provincial Party Committee promised to mobilize a special inspection and rectification campaign targeting major potential hazards throughout the province to resolutely prevent the occurrence of future incidents and fully guarantee public safety.

The remarks were made after a fire broke out at about 6:50 am on Thursday in a four-story building belonging to a coal company in the city of Lüliang. The fire was put out at 8:35 am on Thursday, with on-site rescue work concluding at 1:45 pm. A total of 64 people were transferred to the hospital. Twenty-six died during emergency treatment, while the remainders are still being treated, local authorities said.

On Friday afternoon, Shanxi provincial officials observed a moment of silence for the victims of the fire. During a press conference, Zhang Guangyong, the mayor of Lüliang city, expressed deep apologies to the families of the deceased. He stated that the follow-up work will be carried out in accordance with the law and regulations to ensure proper compensation and to fully guarantee the dignity of the victims and the comfort their families deserve.

Shanxi provincial fire rescue corps chief engineer Zhu Jiang said at the press conference that according to preliminary calculations, the building where the fire broke out was approximately 900 square meters in size.

Within this area, there were over 200 sets of lockers, which divided the indoor space into multiple compartments. Additionally, over 1,700 sets of hanging baskets were installed at the top of this area, containing employee’s personal items such as cotton clothing, pants, and boots. Due to the high temperature of the fire, the hanging baskets, net frames, and stored items fell to the ground on top of each other.

Recently, bathhouse hanging baskets in mining areas across the country have been included in the scope of inspections. According to the officials of a fire detachment in Huainan, East China’s Anhui Province, on Saturday, deeply learning lessons from the Yongju mine accident, the brigade has deployed targeted inspections with a focus on checking the fire safety of bathhouses, laundry rooms and auxiliary shafts in buildings that serve as joint offices and dormitories.

In addition, on Friday, the logistics service center of another mine in Shanxi also conducted a special fire safety inspection of the bathhouse for mine employees. Detailed inspections were carried out on whether employees’ hanging baskets contained flammable or explosive items such as lighters and power banks, as well as power supply lines, fire protection facilities, and fire emergency exits of the bathhouse to identify any fire safety hazards. Any discovered issues were addressed on site.

Attendees at the Saturday meeting also watched a safety education video on a similar incident that occurred in Jingcheng in Daixian county, where more than 30 miner deaths due to work safety accidents were under-reported over a period of 15 years. All present expressed their determination to learn from the lessons behind these incidents and treat the case as a warning.

Recently, during surprise inspections on mine safety production conducted by the State Council’s safety production and firefighting inspection team and the National Mine Safety Administration (NMSA) in Ningxia, Jiangsu, and other places, it was found that lack of how to use self-rescue devices was still a prominent issue.

The inspections came after a fire killed 16 miners at a coal mine in Panguan township, Panzhou city, Southwest China’s Guizhou Province in September. After the accident, NMSA issued multiple notices and repeatedly emphasized the deployment of self-rescue equipment and training for underground miners who do not know how to use self-rescue devices correctly.

Experts said that one of the main reasons behind these accidents is that many enterprises are rushing to meet deadlines or pursuing production efficiency as the year end draws, which leads to to some extent a relaxation in production safety.

(Global Times)

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