Xinhua: At least 18 dead in China karaoke lounge fire

(file photo)

BEIJING: A fire tore through a karaoke lounge in southern China on Tuesday, killing 18 people and injuring another five, according to state media.

The blaze took place in Qingyuan City, Guangdong province, the official Xinhua news agency said in a brief report, citing local police.

Deadly fires are common in China, where safety regulations are widely flouted and enforcement is often lax.

A blaze that killed 38 people at a nursing home in 2015 sparked soul-searching about safety standards in China. Courts jailed 21 people, including firefighters and government staff, over the fire last year.

In the days following the accident, China’s top safety watchdog said the facility had poorly-designed fire exits, while safety checks, fire and electricity management, and the emergency response system were all found lacking.

More than two dozen people were killed in two fires in Beijing’s migrant neighbourhoods late last year. The first blaze, which killed 19 people in November, prompted authorities to begin tearing down unsafe buildings in the capital, driving residents out in the middle of winter.