Harbin hotel fire

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Coordinates: 45°47′23″N 126°36′23″E / 45.78963°N 126.606407°E / 45.78963; 126.606407

Harbin hotel fire
Date 25 August 2018 (2018-08-25)
Time 4:36 a.m. (CST)
Duration 3 hours
Venue Beilong Hot Spring Hotel
Location Taiyang Island (zh), Songbei District, Harbin, Heilongjiang
Type Hotel fire
Deaths 20
Non-fatal injuries 23

On 25 August 2018, a fire broke out at the Beilong Hot Spring Hotel (Chinese: 北龙温泉酒店)[1] in Harbin. Located in the city's Taiyang Island (zh) (太阳岛) resort area, the four-storey brick-and-concrete hotel mostly accommodates domestic tourists and was hosting over 100 people at the time, many of whom were in town for an annual marathon.[2] Ultimately, the fire resulted in 20 deaths and 23 injuries.[3][4]

Incident

At 4:36 a.m. on 25 August,[5] a fire broke out in a kitchen of a karaoke bar on the Beilong Hot Spring Hotel's second floor. Many of the guests, mostly Chinese tourists staying in town for the 2018 Harbin International Marathon,[6] were asleep. The fire itself spread over 400 square metres (4,300 sq ft) along the second through fourth floors and first floor main hall. Smoke from combustibles in the kitchen and karaoke bar spread up the stairways and air systems into the hallways,[3] requiring firefighters to evacuate more than 80 guests with at least 20 needing emergency rescuing. A survivor of the fire told reporters "I didn't hear any smoke alarm until after the fire was extinguished ... There was heavy smoke in the corridor and no indicator lights pointing to the exit."[7]

At 07:50 the fire was considered extinguished,[8] and fire officials discovered 18 fatalities inside the resort with one more fatality at the hospital.[9] The death toll rose to 20 a day later, when investigators found one last body under the burned debris.[10] The Beijing Jiufangyuyue Commercial and Trading Co confirmed in the days after the fire that all of the deceased victims were members of a 10-day trip through their company, aged 59 to 85.[7]

Response

A total of 105 firefighters and 30 engines mobilized in response to the inferno. China's Ministry of Emergency Management sent a team of workers to assist the city of Harbin with investigating the incident. A legal representative of the Beilong Hot Spring Hotel was detained for questioning by the Harbin public security bureau the same day, and the Deputy Director of MEM's fire control bureau immediately ordered safety checks at hospitals, senior living homes, schools, major venues and other hotels.[11]

Fire officials revealed the next day that the hotel had failed at least five safety inspections in the past two years. Harbin's fire department had deemed the building unsafe in 2016 due to its maze-like hallways and shortage of fire exits and extinguishers, and ordered the hotel to suspend operations until compliant.[12] All victims of the fire were identified through on-site identification and DNA matching.[13]

Investigation

The public security bureau of Harbin issued a wanted notice on August 29, for a female suspect in connection with the hotel camera. The Police offered a reward up to 300,000 yuan ($44,000 USD) for information that leads to finding the female suspect.[7] The suspect was arrested on August 30.[14]

See also

References

  1. ^ 哈尔滨火灾致19人遇难 涉事酒店法人涉嫌消防责任事故罪被刑拘. QQ News (in Chinese). People's Daily. 2018-08-25. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  2. ^ Zhang, Lusha (24 August 2018). "Fire kills 19 people at spa hotel in northeastern China". Reuters. 
  3. ^ a b “8·25”松北区重大火灾事故搜救工作全部结束 事故调查全面展开 (in Chinese). 黑龙江日报 [Heilongjiang News]. 26 August 2018. 
  4. ^ Bradsher, Keith (August 25, 2018). "China Hotel Fire Kills 19 on Eve of International Marathon". New York Times. Retrieved 2018-08-28. 
  5. ^ "Chinese police detain owner of hotel where fire killed 19". The Associated Press. 25 August 2018. 
  6. ^ Brasher, Keith (25 August 2018). "China Hotel Fire Kills 19 on Eve of International Marathon". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ a b c "Harbin police seek woman after deadly hotel fire". www.ecns.cn. Retrieved 2018-08-30. 
  8. ^ News, ABC. "Chinese police detain owner of hotel where fire killed 19". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-08-29. 
  9. ^ "19 killed in fire at resort hotel in northeast China". The LA Times. 25 August 2018. 
  10. ^ "Deadly hotel fire kills 20 in NE China's Harbin". China Global Television Network. 26 August 2018. 
  11. ^ "Hotel's legal rep held following deadly Harbin fire". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Xinhua. 25 August 2018. 
  12. ^ Chen, Stephen (26 August 2018). "Harbin hotel where fire killed 19 'had failed 5 safety inspections'". South China Morning Post. 
  13. ^ "Victims of Harbin hotel fire identified - Xinhua | English.news.cn". www.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 2018-08-29. 
  14. ^ "Police arrest main suspect in Harbin hotel fire". www.ecns.cn. Retrieved 2018-08-30.