A tragic fire incident occurred in a school dormitory in central China’s Henan province on Friday night, claiming the lives of 13 students and injuring one more. The fire broke out at the Yingcai School in Yanshanpu village, near Nanyang city, and was extinguished just before midnight. The school’s owner has been detained by the authorities for investigation.
The victims were third graders
According to a teacher who spoke to Zonglan news, a state-backed media outlet from Hebei province, all of the dead were third grade students who were sleeping in the dormitory when the fire started. The teacher said that the dormitory had two floors and each floor had four rooms, with six to eight students sharing a room. The teacher also said that the school had fire extinguishers and fire alarms, but they did not work properly.
The injured student was rescued from the scene and taken to the hospital for treatment. The student’s condition is not known yet. The identities and ages of the deceased students have not been disclosed by the authorities.
The school catered to rural students
The Yingcai School was a boarding school that catered primarily to students in the elementary grades, though it had an attached kindergarten, according to the school’s WeChat page. Many of the boarding students came from rural areas, the Beijing Youth Daily reported. The school had two branches, one in Dushu township and the other in Yanshanpu village. The fire occurred in the latter branch, which had about 200 students and 20 teachers.
The school was founded in 2017 by a local entrepreneur named Li Xing, who claimed to have a master’s degree from a prestigious university and a background in education. Li Xing was also the owner and principal of the school. He was detained by the police on Saturday morning for questioning.
The cause of the fire is under investigation
The local authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire and the responsibility of the school management. The fire department said that they received a report of the fire at 11 pm local time on Friday and dispatched 12 fire trucks and 68 firefighters to the scene. They managed to put out the fire by 11:55 pm and found 13 bodies in the dormitory.
The fire department also said that the fire was likely caused by an electrical short circuit, but they are still conducting a thorough investigation. They added that the school did not have a fire safety certificate and did not comply with the fire safety regulations.
The local government has expressed its condolences to the families of the victims and promised to provide them with assistance and compensation. The government has also ordered a comprehensive inspection of all the schools in the area to prevent similar incidents from happening again.