Martial arts center burned down, 18 children killed

Martial arts center burned down, 18 children killed

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A fire that broke out at a martial arts center in China on Friday killed 18 people, and state media reported that most of the victims were children who were staying there.

The fire broke out around 3 am local time and was later extinguished, the Zhecheng County Government in Henan Province announced on its website.

The cause of the fire, which injured 16 people, four of them in serious condition, is not yet known, provincial authorities said.

Police have arrested a person in charge of the center, authorities said.

Most of the victims were students between the ages of 7 and 16 who were staying on the second floor of the center, according to a report by the Beijing Youth Daily, although the report was later deleted from the newspaper’s website.

Fires in China are not uncommon, due to poor safety protocols and non-compliant construction.

In one of the worst fires in the country, 309 people were killed at a nightclub in Luoyang City, also in Henan, on Christmas Day 2000.

Most of the victims suffocated in a full smoke-filled ballroom, which had only two emergency exits, and there were no sprinklers or smoke alarms.

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