22 people die in Chinese dormitory fire
BEIJING — At least 22 people died in a blaze that gutted a two-story workers’ dormitory in eastern China on Sunday, and investigators said they suspect the fire was the work of an arsonist.
Police officers arrested a suspect in Yushan Town, Jiangsu province, Chinese Central Television news reported. But the report gave no motive for the fire, which broke out about 4:30 a.m. in a house serving as a dormitory for about 29 restaurant workers.
Videos shared on news websites showed residents yelling in panic while firefighters stood outside the building in Jiangsu, and a dense ribbon of smoke rising into the sky. Six people managed to escape, including three who were injured and sent to the hospital. One resident was missing, the reports said.
Safety investigators discovered “traces of burned gasoline at the scene, and the doors had all been locked from the outside,” the State Administration of Work Safety wrote online.
The police used surveillance video to identify and arrest a suspect, identified by only one name, Jiang, said the reports, which gave no other details. The town government said the suspect had been caught in the afternoon near the site of the fire, hiding inside a water tank on top of a building, the China News Service reported.