Twelve arrested in China for CCTV building fire

February 12th, 2009 - 5:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Feb 12 (Xinhua) Beijing police have arrested 12 people, including an official of the China Central Television (CCTV), for the fire in the company’s new headquarters building Monday that killed one person and injured seven, officials said Thursday.
The arrested include three CCTV workers and eight people hired by CCTV from a fireworks company in central Hunan province, the spokesman for the municipal public security bureau said Thursday.

The arrested CCTV official was in charge of the building’s construction and was suspected of being responsible for starting the fire by using banned fireworks, the spokesman said.

Monday was the traditional Lantern festival and fireworks were allowed in downtown Beijing as it marked the ending of this year’s Chinese New Year celebration period.

CCTV workers at the new site said they had received a text message inviting them to a grand fireworks display at 8 p.m. outside the nearly-completed building.

When fire spread through the building that houses CCTV facilities as well as the Mandarin Oriental hotel, the eight fireworks operators fled. The police caught the eight in Langfang, a city on the Beijing-Hebei border Tuesday.

A Beijing government spokesman said the fireworks the eight used were extremely dangerous and needed approval before being allowed in downtown Beijing.

He added that CCTV workers ignored policemen’s warnings that night.

CCTV apologised Tuesday for the “great loss” and traffic congestion caused by the lethal blaze. The fire paralysed traffic in eastern Beijing and led to the evacuation of 626 residents.

One firefighter died from breathing toxic fumes and seven people were taken to hospital, including six firemen and one construction worker.

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