Beijing, 16 November 2023 (TDI): A devastating fire engulfed the office premises of a coal company in the heart of Shanxi, northern China, resulting in the tragic loss of 26 lives.
The incident, reported by state media on Thursday, marks a distressing chapter in a series of unfortunate accidents within the coal industry.
The blaze erupted at 6:50 a.m. (2250 GMT Wednesday) within the four storey Yongju Coal Industry Joint Building, a pivotal location in the country’s premier coal-producing hub. Despite initial efforts, the fire claimed the lives of 26 individuals, while leaving 38 others injured.
President Xi Jinping, currently on an official trip to the United States, has urgently called upon local authorities to intensify safety measures to prevent such catastrophic events. His directive, conveyed via the state-run Xinhua news agency, emphasizes the critical need for heightened safety protocols within the industry.
In response to the tragedy, all mining operations in the Lishi district, where the incident occurred, have been temporarily suspended as per directives from the local emergency management bureau. This measure aims to ensure comprehensive safety assessments and preventive measures across coal production units in the area.
A comprehensive investigation into the cause of the fire is underway, with authorities detaining several individuals for questioning, as reported.
Additionally, China’s State Council has mobilized a specialized team to the site, overseeing rescue operations and managing the emergency response.
This tragic incident comes in the wake of heightened scrutiny on China’s coal production sector following a string of accidents in recent months. These incidents have not only resulted in substantial loss of life but have also significantly impacted production as safety inspections halt mining activities.
Earlier this year, a devastating fire at a Beijing hospital claimed the lives of 29 individuals, prompting widespread criticism of local authorities on social media platforms.