Toddler blamed for deadly fire

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Beijing -

Investigators in China have accused a three-year-old girl of playing with a cigarette lighter and starting a workshop fire that killed 12 people, state media reported.

“Many others” were injured in the blaze at a clothing workshop in Junbu in the southern province of Guangdong last week, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Wednesday.

The workshop owner's toddler ignited a stack of sponges while playing with a lighter, the report said, citing local investigators.

The owner “turned himself in” after he was found to have been illegally using a residential building as a workshop, and had violated a range of fire safety laws including insufficient exits and a shortage of fire-extinguishing equipment, it said.

Xinhua said the families of those killed in the fire had been compensated, without specifying the amount.

Workplace safety standards can be poor in China, where fatal accidents happen regularly at mines and factories, with some blaming lax enforcement of rules due to corruption.

A fire at a poultry plant in the north-eastern province of Jilin in June killed 120 and injured at least 70, in China's deadliest blaze for over a decade. - Sapa-AFP


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