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MASSIVE DEATH TOLL IN SHANGHAI BUILDING FIRE

Welding work suspected as triggering inferno on scaffolded structure

A massive fire has raged raced through a 28-story apartment block in Shanghai causing the death of 53 people. The government has launched a major investigation into how such a disaster could occur in China’s wealthiest commercial city.

The fire started around 2:15 p.m. Monday local time and spread through scaffolding erected around the building as part of refurbishment work. The tower was home mainly to teachers from nearby schools.

Meng Jianzhu Minister of Public Security visited the site to oversee rescue and relief work. He vowed to “punish those responsible for the accident”.

Police have detained four people in connection with the blaze. It has been reported that investigators believe the fire was started by welding activity.

Big building fires are rare in Shanghai. Fires have tended to be in chemical or other industrial facilities on the outskirts of the city.

Construction activity has picked up in the city in the last couple weeks, following the end of the six-month-long Shanghai Expo, during which construction projects were halted.

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