Fire kills 18 in south China, injures five

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At least 18 people were killed and 5 others injured after a fire broke out in a three storey building in a southern Chinese city of Qingyuan, local police said on Tuesday.

The fire was put out at 00.55 and the injured had been sent to the hospital, the bureau said on its official account on a micro-blog site.

Cops, fire, health and other departments sent rescuers to the site after receiving a call around half-past midnight, the local cops said.

Preliminary investigations showed the fire was caused by arson, cops said.

The police have caught the man suspected of setting the fire. The public security bureau said authorities have arrested a man named Liu Chunlu, 32 in the county-level city of Yingde.

Cops had offered a reward of $32000 for the man they accuse of setting the fire.

The public security bureau of Qingyuan City in Guangdong province told the man had burns on his hips. It did not provide a motive for the arson, but the local media reported the suspect had set fire to a karaoke parlor after an argument with others.

The suspect blocked the entrance of the joint with his motorcycle and then ignited it, setting it ablaze, CCTV footage showed. The parlor had only one passage for entering and exiting, the report said.

China suffers frequent deadly fires and industrial accidents often blamed on negligence. Last year, cops arrested a man suspected of setting fire to a two-story house in east China, killing 22 people. At that time, Investigators discovered traces of gasoline at the scene with all the doors locked.

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