Local authorities apologized on Wednesday for a deadly market fire that killed 16, injuring 5 in south China city Shenzhen.
Guo Feng, head of the Guangming subdistrict’s administrative committee, said at a media briefing that the 16 casualties were employers and employees of four shores in the market.
“As the person in charge of the Guangming subdistrict, I send my deepest apologies to the victims of the accident, their family members, and the society,” said Guo, who took a bow to express his apology.
Guo said the fire broke out from the fruit section of the market, then spreading rapidly from three stores to a dozen others. All the victims were living in their stores, which are forbidden by local rules due to fire hazard issues.
Guo pointed out that last year his committee had dismantled some 300,000 square meters of illegally built partition in stores which were used to accommodate people. However, some store keepers rebuilt the partition after the demolition finished.
According to Zhang Xiaowei, chief of staff of local fire department, most of the victims of the accident were died from smoke inhalation, and the youngest victim was only two years old.
He added that the cause of the accident is still under investigation at present, and the market manager has been detained by the police.
Guo said that a provincial investigation team had been formed and on their way to the accident site, and his committee will continue their job to demolish the illegally built partitions in stores.
“(We will) investigate the fact, and find out who is responsible for the accident. In other words, whether (the shores) have licenses, and who will be held responsible for that, all that will be investigated from a team sent by provincial authorities, and the final result will be announced when available,” said Guo.
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