Russian guest among five victims
in NE China
CHANGCHUN, March 19 -- A Russian guest was among the five
people killed in a hotel fire in northeast China's Jilin
Province on Saturday evening, local government confirmed
The blaze, which broke out at around 7:40 p.m. in the
Xinqiao Hotel in Yanji, a city in the Korean Autonomous
Prefecture of Yanbian, also killed three employees of a
Chinese power company and a man who works in Beijing, said
Sui Qingjiang, an official ofthe prefecture.
All five victims were men, said the official who did not
revealthe victims' names .
Their bodies were found after the fire was extinguished
at midnight. Investigators said one of the dead was tall
and fair-skinned and suspected he was a Russian, Sui said.
The hotel authorities later confirmed he was a Russian
guest who had come to Yanji for medical treatment. He gave
a Chinese name when he checked in.
More than 40 guests had checked in at the hotel, most
of whom were evacuated from the building when the fire broke
out. The few people who had stayed behind including some
hotel employees managed to escape the fire by jumping off
the building. Two men were injured, one of whom was badly
hurt his wrist after jumping from a sixth floor window.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated. Some
witnesses said a neon light billboard at the entrance of
the hotelmight be the cause as it was earlier damaged by
Twenty-six fire trucks and 136 firemen joined the rescue
operation, but the seven-story hotel building was in ruins
by the time the flames were put out.
The fire also destroyed four cars that were parked near
"Thank heavens the fire engines came in time,"
said a citizen surnamed Cui, who runs a drugstore across
the street. "The fire could have spread to other buildings."
Located on a busy downtown street, Xinqiao Hotel was a
landmarkin Yanji, which is capital of the Korean Prefecture
of Yanbian. The city is adjacent to the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea and also close to Russia. 58 percent of
the 380,000 people in the city are of the Korean ethnic
Back to Hotel Fires