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Nine Arrested for Fatal Factory Fire in S China

Nine people including four government officials have been arrested in connection with a fatal factory fire that claimed 15 lives in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, in February.

The four officials, identified as Huang Hanguang, Zeng Hongbo, Lin Guozhong and Yi Rao, were from the city's fire fighting bureau and environment protection bureau. They were arrested on charges of neglecting their duties and misconduct, said the press office of the Shenzhen government on Sunday.

The blaze broke out on Feberary 27 early morning in an illegal foam recycling station of Shenzhen Longfei Recycle Materials Co. Ltd inside a building. It killed 15 people and caused a direct economic loss of 14 million yuan (US$2.05 million).

The fire was caused by short-circuits of the overburdened electrical wires in production. The own and the legal representative of the building were also arrested for renting rooms to the factory without permission.

An investigation report accused the involved government officials of dereliction of duty and taking bribes.

The other three people arrested included Chen Jinlong, legal representative of the Shenzhen Longfei Recycle Materials Co. Ltd, and two company employees.

(Xinhua News Agency September 28, 2008)

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