12 held for Beijing hospital fire as death toll rises to 29

Beijing: The death toll from a major fire at a hospital building in the Chinese capital rose to 29, including 26 patients, officials said here on Wednesday, as 12 people have been detained including the medical facility’s head and her deputy.

The fire which broke out at the Beijing Changfeng Hospital on Tuesday was extinguished within an hour, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

On Tuesday, the official media reported that 21 people were killed in the incident.

The death toll later rose to 29, Deputy Director of the Beijing Municipal Health Commission Li Ang told the media here.

The victims included 26 patients, one family member of a patient, one hospital caregiver and one nurse, Li said.

Thirty-nine people who were injured in the fire were being treated in other hospitals, Li said.

The chief of the hospital was among those detained, Li said.

More than 70 patients were affected and shifted from the fire-hit hospital admissions building in Beijing’s Fengtai district.

According to the preliminary investigation, the fire was caused by sparks from a construction project that ignited volatiles produced by combustible paint, Xinhua said.

Further investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.

Videos circulating online show some people jumping out of the window and waiting for rescue on the outdoor air conditioning units. Others jumped to lower rooftops, state-run Global Times reported.

The city has set up a special working team to identify the cause of the accident, and those responsible for the accident will be held accountable in accordance with the law, the report said.

Authorities have instructed all districts to conduct large-scale inspections to identify and eliminate potential safety hazards, preventing any significant safety incidents from occurring as the May Day holidays are approaching.

China will shut down for a week from May 1 to celebrate International Workers Day.

Beijing Changfeng Hospital is a private hospital established in 1985, affiliated with Beijing Changfeng Hospital Corporation.

The hospital, a secondary hospital in China’s three-tier hospital system, is a chain hospital that specialises in the treatment of vascular diseases, especially haemangiomas and vascular malformations, as well as other comprehensive treatment programmes.

In another incident, 11 people died in a factory fire in Wuyi county, Jinhua city in China’s eastern Zhejiang province earlier on Tuesday.