At least 26 people have been killed and dozens injured after a fire broke out at a coal company's office building in China's northern Shanxi province, state media reported on Thursday.1
The blaze started at 6:50am local time at the four-story Yongju Coal Industry Joint Building situated in the PRC's coal-production hub.2
While the fire has been contained and at least 63 people have been evacuated, the death toll is expected to rise as the rescue mission continues.3
Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping has called for an investigation into 'hidden risks' in essential industries and ordered authorities to maintain 'overall social stability.'4
Meanwhile, authorities have launched a probe to ascertain the cause of the fire and reportedly detained several suspects.5
This follows a string of similar incidents in the PRC's coal mines, including a mine collapse in the Inner Mongolia region in February that killed 53 and a coal mine accident in Panzhou city in September that left 16 dead.6
Anti-China narrative, as provided by Bloomberg. Deadly industrial accidents, including building collapses, mine cave-ins, fires, and explosions, are a regular occurrence in China — a major global producer of coal — despite government pledges to clamp down on lax standards, poor oversight, and corruption. A failure to improve safety standards is continuing to affect people's lives and properties, as well as threaten the PRC's energy security.
Pro-China narrative, as provided by CGTN. While Monday's incident is tragic, the PRC has made efforts to reduce industrial accidents in recent years and achieved significant success in emergency management. The government has brought down rates of workplace accidents, casualties, and economic loss for the tenth year in a row, by improving regulations and enforcement and imposing penalties for companies that violate safety standards.