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38 People Dead in Fire at China Trading Company; 4 People Imprisoned

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According to reports, four persons have been apprehended in connection with a fire at an industrial trading company in central China that killed 38 people.

According to police, the fire on Monday was sparked by welding sparks that burned cotton material kept at a factory managed by the firm Kaixinda.

Two employees of the enterprise and two employees of a garment company were detained, Anyang Mayor Gao Yong told reporters late Tuesday, according to official media. They have not been formally arrested, and no news yet on what charges they may face.

Aside from the deaths, two individuals were hurt in the fire, which took more than four hours to put out.

Gao stated that the city of more than 5 million inhabitants in the central province of Henan would properly evaluate all potential safety issues.

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“Because this disaster has taken such a heavy toll on human life,” Gao was reported as adding, “the lessons must be learned at a very deep level.”

Henan, a densely populated and economically significant province, has experienced a series of recent fatal accidents blamed on violations of safety laws and insufficient government oversight.

In April, a building collapse on the outskirts of Henan’s provincial capital Changsha killed 53 people. Five officials were jailed.

Since an explosion at a chemical warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin in 2015 killed 173 people, the majority of whom were firefighters and police officers, the central government has pledged tougher safety procedures.

In that case, several municipal authorities were suspected of accepting bribes in order to ignore safety concerns.

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