Fire Kills 18 In China's Martial Arts Training Centre

It was unclear what caused the fire, which injured 16 people, four of whom were in serious condition, the county government said.

Fire Kills 18 In China's Martial Arts Training Centre

It was unclear what had caused the fire. (Representational)

Beijing:

A fire tore through a martial arts training centre in China on Friday killing 18 people, with one state media outlet saying most of the victims were children who were staying there.

The blaze broke out at 3 a.m. (1900 GMT Thursday) and was later extinguished, the government of Zhecheng county, in Henan province, said on its website.

It was unclear what caused the fire, which injured 16 people, four of whom were in serious condition, the county government said.

Police detained the person in charge of the centre, the county said. It did not identify the person or the training centre.

Most of the casualties were students aged between 7 and 16 staying on the centre's second floor, the Beijing Youth Daily said in a report, though the report was later deleted from the newspaper's website.

In a social media post, Zhonghong, a news outlet backed by China's state planner, identified the centre as Zhenxing Martial Arts Centre.

Calls to the centre and its founder Chen Lin went unanswered.

Fires are not uncommon in China, due partly to patchy safety protocols and sub-standard construction.

In one China's most horrific fires, 309 people were killed at a nightclub in the city of Luoyang, also in Henan, on Christmas Day in 2000. Most victims suffocated in the smoke-filled dance hall, which had only two emergency exits, and no sprinklers or smoke alarms.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)