Shanghai Government Takes Blame for Fire That Killed 58 People

The Shanghai government took responsibility for a high-rise apartment fire last week that left 58 people dead.

“Inadequate surveillance and shoddy work standards in our city’s construction industry led to the fire on Nov. 15, for which we bear responsibility,” Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng said in a statement posted on the municipal government’s website.

Unlicensed electric welders may have set off the blaze, which started on the 10th floor of the 28-story building, Shanghai Daily said Nov. 18. The structure was undergoing renovations, so was covered with flammable scaffolding made of nylon netting and bamboo.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets yesterday to mourn the victims of the blaze, the Shanghai Daily reported today. Mourners carried white and yellow chrysanthemums to the place of the blaze, it said.

China’s Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu has called for a full inquiry, saying that those responsible will be punished, according to a Nov. 16 government statement. Twelve people have been detained in connection with the fire, Xinhua News Agency said on Nov. 19.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kae Inoue at

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