Eighteen dead after fire at Chinese karaoke bar

Police say they have caught the 32-year-old man suspected of starting the deadly blaze

An aerial photo shows the aftermath of a deadly fire at a karaoke bar in Yingde city, China. Photograph: Deng Hua/Xinhua News Agency via AP

An aerial photo shows the aftermath of a deadly fire at a karaoke bar in Yingde city, China. Photograph: Deng Hua/Xinhua News Agency via AP

 

Police have caught a man suspected of starting a fire that killed 18 people and injured five others at a three-storey building in China.

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

Police had offered a 200,000 yuan (about €26,000) reward for the man they claim started the fire early on Tuesday morning.

The bureau said the man had burns on his hips. It did not provide a motive for the arson, but state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported the suspect had set fire to a karaoke parlour after an argument with others.

The suspect blocked the entrance of the venue with his motorcycle and then ignited it, CCTV said. The parlour had only one passage for entering and exiting, the report said.

Police, fire, health and other departments sent rescuers to the site after receiving a call after midnight about the fire, the Qingyuan police said.

The fire was put out at 12.55am local time and the injured were sent to the hospital, the bureau said on its official account on the microblog site, Sina Weibo.

– AP