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Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Sunday, 21 September 2008 13:08 UK

Fire at China club leaves 43 dead

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The scene following the fire in Shenzhen

A fire at a nightclub in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has killed at least 43 people and injured another 88.

The fire broke out at 2300 (1500GMT) on Saturday, in Dance King club in the Long Gang district of the city, which is near the border with Hong Kong.

Nearly 1,000 people were in the club at the time. Firefighters suspect the blaze was caused by fireworks being lit on the stage.

It is reported a dozen officials have been detained over the fire.

Local authorities say they are being held under what is called executive detention.

The Party chief of Guangdong province Wang Yang has ordered an investigation into the reasons for the fire.

According to some Hong Kong-based reporters in Shenzhen, the club was in a three-storey building and they say firefighters had to break some windows in the rescue, while others had been blocked by bricks or wooden boards.

Map of Guangdong

"There was only a narrow aisle... in the hall. Many people got hurt in the stampede," said club employee Yang Zhi, according to Xinhua news agency.

He fled after soaking himself in water, but still suffered burns to his neck, the agency said.

Serious fires are a common occurrence in China, where correspondents say safety regulations are often flouted.

Meanwhile, at least 36 miners have died in two separate accidents elsewhere in China.

A gas explosion at a private mine near Dengfeng city in Henan province killed 31, and another five died in a fire at a coal mine in northeastern Heilongjiang province.



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