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2 Fires Kill 90 in China - 2004-02-15


A fire in a department store in northeastern China has killed at least 51 people and injured more than 70 others, while a separate blaze in the country's east has claimed 39 victims.

The first fire broke out earlier Sunday on the second floor of a five-story building housing the Zhongbai department store in Jilin, a city some 900 kilometers northeast of Beijing. Officials said the flames were extinguished after a few hours, but warned the death toll could rise because many of the injured are in serious condition.

Also Sunday, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua said a separate fire in eastern China killed 39 people and injured four others. The agency quoted officials as saying the blaze took place at a temple in Wufen, a village in the eastern province of Zhejiang. They say that fire has also been extinguished.

The causes of both fires are under investigation.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.