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Karaoke bar blaze kills 18 in China

24 April 2018

A fire in a karaoke lounge in southern China killed 18 people and injured another five, with police arresting a man soon after for suspected arson.

A preliminary investigation into the incident found that the fire was set intentionally, the bureau said on its Weibo social media account.

Police said the main suspect is a man who got into an argument with patrons before he allegedly set the fire and blocked the only entrance with his motorcycle.

The public security bureau of Qingyuan City in Guangdong province said authorities arrested a 32-year-old man named Liu Chunlu in the county-level city of Yingde, which Qingyuan oversees.

Larger KTV lounges often span across many floors in a building, with narrow corridors linking dozens of individual rooms together.

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Chinese media reported that there was a quarrel at the lounge, in the city of Qingyuan, just before the fire started.

Deadly blazes and industrial accidents are common in China, and are often blamed on negligence. The parlour had only one passage for entering and exiting, the report said.

China has a patchy safety record for building regulations.

Additionally, more than two dozen people were killed in two fires in Beijing's migrant neighborhoods late previous year, the second of which prompted authorities to tear down unsafe buildings in China's capital.

The first blaze, which killed 19 people in November, prompted authorities to begin tearing down unsafe buildings in the capital, driving hundreds of thousands of down on their luck residents out in the middle of winter.

Karaoke bar blaze kills 18 in China