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10 killed, nine injured after fire engulfs apartment in China’s Xinjiang region

At least 10 people were killed and nine injured after a fire ripped through an apartment in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, state media reported on Friday.

The fire broke out at a high-rise building on Thursday night in the regional capital of Urumqi, where temperatures have dropped to below freezing after dark. According to reports, it took more than three hours to douse the flames.

Ten of them died of toxic smoke while the other nine injured were out of danger, China Daily newspaper reported.

The cause of the fire is unknown and the police have launched an investigation into the matter.

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The recent tragedy comes a week after a fire at an industrial trading company in central China’s Anyang city left 38 dead. The fire was caused by welding sparks that ignited cotton cloth.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had vowed to bring those responsible for the incident to justice, official media reported.

Local fire teams sent 63 vehicles and 240 firefighters for the rescue operation. China’s Ministry of Emergency Management has also dispatched a team to the scene, the state-run CGTN reported.

Frequent deadly fires and industrial accidents are common in China, which has been grappling with government corruption and negligence, poor safety awareness and ageing infrastructure.

In August 2015, over 170 people were killed and 700 injured when blasts ripped through a warehouse in Tianjin Port where large amounts of toxic chemicals were stored, including around 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide.

(With inputs from agencies)

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