China Bus Fire That Killed 47 Is a Criminal Case, Xinhua Reports

A bus fire in the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen that killed at least 47 was not an accident and was likely caused by a criminal act, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today.

Police found evidence of gasoline even though the bus uses diesel as fuel, Xinhua reported, citing initial findings from investigators. The fire, which took place at about 6:30 p.m. yesterday, injured 34.

“According to on-site checks and findings by relevant experts and the local police, the bus’s tires and fuel tank were in complete form when the fire took place,” Xinhua reported, citing a statement from the local government of Xiamen. “Therefore, it can be ruled out that it’s a safety accident. Initial findings conclude that it is a serious criminal case.”

Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun is in Xiamen to lead a State Council team overseeing the investigation, with instructions from President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, Xinhua said.

The deadly incident happened just days after another fire in a poultry plant in the northeastern province of Jilin killed 120 people. Xiamen, a city on the west side of the Taiwan Strait, is a key port linking the mainland to Taiwan and a tourist destination.