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Safety screening stressed after Henan fire kills 38
November 23,2022   By:China Daily
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Smoke escapes through the fire-damaged roof of a factory in Anyang, Henan province, on Monday. The fire, which killed 38 people and injured two, began at 4:22 pm on Monday. By 11 pm, firefighters had managed to extinguish the blaze. XINHUA
 
President Xi Jinping has called for all-out efforts to treat the injured, comfort affected families, properly handle the aftermath and bring those accountable to justice after a factory fire killed 38 people in Henan province.
 
The fire broke out at 4:22 pm on Monday at a two-story garment workshop in Wenfeng district of Anyang, local authorities said. The blaze was extinguished around midnight following efforts that involved 63 firetrucks and 240 firefighters.
 
Eighty-nine people managed to escape, including two who received minor injuries. The injured were all sent to a hospital and were in stable condition.
 
Noting that the Anyang fire was among a spate of workplace accidents that have occurred recently, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said such accidents have resulted in heavy casualties and taught sobering lessons.
 
The president ordered all-out efforts to identify the cause and hold those responsible to account according to the law.
 
As the end of the year approaches, local governments and government bodies face the heavy task of coordinating economic development and production safety management. Xi urged them to screen for safety hazards in a thorough manner to resolutely prevent and curb the occurrence of serious and major accidents, adhering to the principle of always putting people's interests first and emphasizing that nothing is more precious than people's lives.
 
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Firefighters battle the raging flames of the factory fire on Monday in Anyang, Henan province. Photo provided to China Daily
 
According to Anyang's emergency management department, the first floor of the garment workshop was used as a warehouse, and workers were making winter clothing on the second floor when the fire broke out.
 
A preliminary investigation found that an electro welding operation on the first floor was to blame for the accident. The operation ignited airborne cotton fiber, which then set fire to large piles of cloths.
 
"The smoke was so heavy that some workers on the second floor were soon left suffocated. There was no time for them to escape," an unnamed official with the emergency management department was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying.
 
Police were dealing with the person or people suspected of being responsible, local authorities said.
 
The fire left only pieces of blackened metal shelves on the first floor, and part of the building's brick wall collapsed, according to a video from China national fire service that was posted on Sina Weibo.
 
The fire was quickly out of control, according to a report in Beijing-based magazine China Newsweek that was based on an interview with an unnamed female worker.
 
Minister of Emergency Management Wang Xiangxi arrived at the site on Tuesday morning to guide the work in dealing with the aftermath, according to a media release from the ministry.
 
In a provincial conference on production safety on Tuesday morning, Henan Governor Wang Kai said that a hard lesson must be drawn from the accident and called for screening for violations and weak links to ensure production safety.
 
Shi Baoyin in Zhengzhou contributed to this story.
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