BEIJING: Nineteen people were killed and 23 others injured when a fire broke at a hotel today in the tourist city of Harbin, the capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, local fire officials said.
The deadly fire started early in the morning at Beilong Hot Spring Leisure hotel in Songbei district and took around three-and-a-half hours for 100 firemen and 30 fire engines to bring it under control, they said.
More than 80 people were evacuated and 20 others trapped in the hotel were rescued by the firemen, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
As many as 18 bodies were recovered from the site while one person died during treatment at the hospital.
A total of 23 injured were being treated in hospitals, officials said.
Around 400 square metres of the hotel's area was gutted in the fire, the cause of which was being probed, according to the local government.
Efforts are on to identify the victims.
Deputy director of the fire control bureau in the Ministry of Emergency Management, Khyungse said that the incident and some other deadly fires in this month reflected problems such as the neglect of responsibility in some places.
Local fire departments should be fully prepared in this fire-prone period, Khyungse said, stressing higher alert and more patrols at night.