The municipal police announced the arrest of 12 people, including the director of the hospital and employees of the company responsible for renovating the building. On Wednesday morning, a heavy police presence was still visible around the building, trying to deter groups of passers-by who were watching and filming on their phones. The building’s main entrance appeared largely intact from the outside, but images of the interior released by business media Caixin showed burned beds and blackened walls. Soot-blackened windows and walls can be seen on one side of the hospital complex, as well as a broken window.
“We have no hospitalized relatives or people affected by the fire, we just came to see the situation,” said a 50-year-old man who did not want to give his name.
Author: a man in his 50s
The fire was extinguished half an hour later, while rescuers evacuated 71 patients within two hours, according to the official Beijing Daily newspaper.
A previous toll, on Wednesday morning, announced that 21 people had died. No details were given on the condition or number of people injured in the fire. The fire is the deadliest in the Chinese capital since a June 2002 fire at an Internet cafe that killed 25 students. Images were shared on social media of people trying to protect themselves from the flames by standing on air conditioning units outside or clinging to sheets before jumping from the building that houses the hospital.
“The number one priority is treating the wounded,” said Yin Li, Beijing’s Communist Party secretary.
Author: Yin Li
He recommended “the establishment of a working group at the municipal level”, specifically to “quickly identify the cause of the accident and bring those responsible to justice in accordance with the law”.
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