Restaurant fire kills 17 people in northeastern China

BEIJING (AP) — A restaurant fire killed 17 people on Wednesday in the city of Changchun in northeastern China, authorities said.

The fire was reported about 12:40 p.m. in a high-tech section of the Changchun New Area industrial zone, according to a social media post by the zone’s management committee.

Three other people were injured and taken to a hospital for treatment, the post said. A gas explosion was initially blamed for causing the fire, according to the fire and rescue service.

Changchun is an auto manufacturing center and the capital of Jilin province.

China, which has some of the world’s most draconian anti-coronavirus restrictions, continues to suffer from deadly accidents blamed on poor design and construction, failure to observe safety requirements and insufficient inspections and enforcement.

In April, an illegally constructed block that included apartments and restaurants collapsed in the city of Changsha, killing 53 people.

And in July, a gas explosion following a partial building collapse in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin left three people missing and 11 injured. The event remains under investigation, but it appears to point to the deterioration of infrastructure following more than three decades of breakneck economic growth that has vastly boosted living standards while often skirting safety and environmental regulation.

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