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Six children die as fire sweeps orphanage in central China
Publication Date : 05-01-2013
Six children and an adult died in a fire that broke out yesterday in a privately run orphanage in central China's Henan province.
The blaze engulfed the house in Lankao, where Yuan Lihai, 48, a local villager, looked after abandoned children she had taken in over the years.
Four children died at the scene, while the other three victims died on their way to a hospital. One of the victims was a man in his 20s with infantile paralysis, an acute, viral infectious disease. The other six — four boys and two girls — were all under six years old, with the youngest only six months, the Lankao publicity department said in a statement.
An injured child, with respiratory system and skin burns, is still in an intensive care unit.
The fire, which broke out at about 8:30am, was contained within two hours. An investigation into the cause is under way.
Pictures taken at the scene after the fire was put out show blackened walls, broken glasses and ruined clothing and quilts.
It is not known how many children were in the house when the fire broke out, but orphans and abandoned children who survived are expected to receive care and accommodation from local governments.
The civil affairs bureau in Lankao county pledged in a statement to provide accommodation for survivors.
The publicity department said Yuan is known as the "kindhearted mother" by residents. She had used the house to shelter orphans and abandoned children since 1987 at her own expense.
It said Yuan has taken care of more than 100 children, with many leaving after they grow up, find a job or get married.
China Central Television also reported that Yuan has cared for more than 100 children since 1987.
A director of the local civil affairs department told the Dahe Daily newspaper it has reached an agreement with Yuan to allow a welfare home to care for the five abandoned infants she had taken in most recently.