Stan­dards raised for fire probes na­tion­wide

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - China - By HU YONGQI huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn Con­tact the writ­ers at zhouhuiy­ing@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Two sources of fire risks — sky­scraper-dense cities, and vil­lages with limited ac­cess to fire­fight­ing equip­ment — are pri­or­i­ties in China’s fire-con­trol cam­paign, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior of­fi­cial, and more rig­or­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tions will be un­der­taken by lo­cal gov­ern­ments when fires re­sult in in­juries or fa­tal­i­ties.

Yu Jian­hua, di­rec­tor of the fire­fight­ing de­part­ment of the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity, said at a news brief­ing on Fri­day that more in­ves­ti­ga­tions with stricter stan­dards will be con­ducted in cases of fires that have ca­su­al­ties.

The State Coun­cil will or­ga­nize in­ves­ti­ga­tions into fires that cause more than 30 deaths, Yu said, while pro­vin­cial-level gov­ern­ments must in­ves­ti­gate one that kills more than 10 peo­ple but less than 30. City gov­ern­ments are re­spon­si­ble for in­ves­ti­gat­ing when there are four to nine deaths, and county gov­ern­ments must han­dle cases with up to three fa­tal­i­ties.

The rule came with a new work plan for fire con­trol that was re­leased by the State Coun­cil on Thurs­day. It aims to pre­vent large-scale fires na­tion­wide. The no­tice pointed to the heads of lo­cal gov­ern­ments as first in the line of re­spon­si­bil­ity for fire fa­tal­i­ties.

Yu said the plan clar­i­fies the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of each level of gov­ern­ment. Those in charge of fire con­trol will face penal­ties if they fail to ful­fill their duty, the work plan said.

The big­gest risk of fire arises in well-de­vel­oped cities and in ru­ral ar­eas with less equip­ment, he said.

China is con­duct­ing fire con­trol checks of sky­scrapers na­tion­wide, bring­ing more than 610,000 tall build­ings un­der scru­tiny, Yu said.

Ac­cord­ing to the min­istry, China ranks first in the world in num­ber of tall build­ings, and more than 6,000 of them are higher than 100 me­ters. The tallest build­ing, in Shang­hai, rises more than 600 me­ters.

“Last year, I vis­ited Lon­don, which has about 500 tall build­ings. By com­par­i­son, Bei­jing alone has more than 25,000. The large num­ber has led to fire con­trol risks,” he said.

Mean­while, 24.7 mil­lion square me­ters of un­der­ground spa­ces in more than 20 prov­inces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties also face risks, Yu said, as some of these spa­ces have been al­tered into hos­tels or apart­ments for rent. They’re dan­ger­ous, he said.

The coun­try also has more than 10,000 large shop­ping com­plexes of more than 10,000 square me­ters, more than 100,000 shan­ty­towns in down­town ar­eas of cities and more than 100,000 chem­i­cal com­pa­nies, he added.

CHEN SHICHUAN / FOR CHINA DAILY

A fire­fighter car­ries a girl from a high-rise build­ing dur­ing a drill at Chongqing Cre­ation Vo­ca­tional Col­lege on Wed­nes­day.

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