More de­tails emerge in deadly apart­ment fire set by nanny

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By SHI XIAOFENG in Hangzhou shixf @chi­nadaily.com.cn

Hangzhou au­thor­i­ties have re­leased more de­tails in the case of a nanny ac­cused of setting fire to an apart­ment in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, China News Ser­vice re­ported on Mon­day.

At a news con­fer­ence, the au­thor­i­ties said the nanny had used her mo­bile phone to learn how to set a fire. They also said the prop­erty man­age­ment com­pany failed to main­tain safe fa­cil­i­ties and to pro­vide emer­gency re­sponse.

The po­lice said Mo Huan­jing, 34, con­fessed af­ter her ar­rest, and was charged on July 1 with ar­son and theft in con­nec­tion with the blaze that swept through an apart­ment in a res­i­den­tial build­ing on June 22. The fire killed a mother and her three chil­dren, aged 6 to 11 years, Li Bing, deputy direc­tor of the Shangcheng district pub­lic se­cu­rity bureau, said at the news con­fer­ence.

Mo was ad­dicted to on­line gam­bling, Li said. She had worked as a babysit­ter since 2015 in Shaox­ing, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, and in Shang­hai, but was fired three times af­ter be­ing ac­cused of theft.

She had worked for the fam­ily caught in the fire since Sep­tem­ber and had stolen items she sub­se­quently pawned for 130,000 yuan ($19,000) to pay off gam­bling debts. Mo also bor­rowed 114,000 yuan from her em­ployer, claim­ing she needed to buy a house for her par­ents.

Dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the po­lice dis­cov­ered that Mo had searched such key words as “lighter”, “sofa fire” and “cur­tain fire” from 2 am to 4 am on the day of the blaze, the news ser­vice re­ported.

Later, at 4:55 am, Mo used a lighter to set fire to a book on a tea ta­ble. The fire spread to the sofa, got out of con­trol and fright­ened Mo, who fled, leav­ing the mother and three chil­dren to die.

Fire­fight­ers ar­rived at the scene at 5:11 am, but the fire en­gine was blocked. Fire­men res­cued seven peo­ple but failed to reach the blaz­ing room.

In­suf­fi­cient fire hy­drant pres­sure pre­vented fire sup­pres­sion and de­layed the res­cue ef­fort, the re­port said.

Ac­cord­ing to Chen, the prop­erty man­age­ment com­pany had many prob­lems with its emer­gency pre­pared­ness, in­clud­ing staff mem­bers who didn’t know how to switch on a fire hy­drant pump man­u­ally.

CUI XIAO / FOR CHINA DAILY

Peo­ple stay cool in an air-raid shel­ter in Nan­jing, Jiangsu prov­ince, on Satur­day.

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