02/06/2015, 00.00
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Blaze at Guangdong shopping mall leaves 17 people dead

The fire started on the top floor of Yiwu Commodity Mall in Huizhou. About 300 customers evacuated. No news of 24 children who were in the bathrooms on the second floor and another 20 people who were in those on the top floor. Two mall managers arrested. Only 20 days ago they had had approved a fire safety check.

Huizhou (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A fire broke out last night on the top floor of a shopping mall in Huizhou, the southern province of Guangdong, killing at least 17 people. While firefighters are still working to extinguish the flames, some of the 300 evacuated customers claim that there were about 24 children locked in a bathroom on the second floor.  There is still no news of their fate.  20 other customers instead were in the bathrooms of a cinema located on the top floor of the mall: There is reportedly no trace of them.

About 120 firefighters were immediately deployed to douse the flames. However, given the gravity of the balze, the government has called another 150 officers - about 45 fire engines - from the neighboring cities of Shenzhen, Dongguan and Shanwei.

The Yiwu Commodity Mall has been completely destroyed by the fire. According to rescue teams, for the moment "it is impossible" to make a correct estimate of the victims: the heat emanating from the building makes it impossible even for firefighters to search through the rubble. Four of them were admitted to the local hospital, one in serious condition.

Residents from the area nearby the shopping center were asked to evacuate, given the "very high risk" of a collapse of the building. Only 20 days ago, the Mall managers had approved a fire safety check. Police arrested two of them last night.


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