Chain of fires claims 31 lives in China

Several hours after an apartment fire in eastern China killed 21 people, a restaurant fire blazed in the southern part of the country killing 10.

Xinhua News Agency said the fire at a restaurant in the booming manufacturing city of Dongguan in Guangdong province also injured nine

The fire late Wednesday afternoon spread quickly before being brought under control by firefighters. Police are investigating the cause, the AP reports.

The fire happened about nine hours after a blaze tore through an apartment building in eastern China, killing at least 21 people, Xinhua said.

More than 200 people were rescued after that blaze broke out at 8:20 a.m. (0020 GMT) in Wenzhou, a city in Zhejiang province, Xinhua said.

Witnesses said the fire broke out in a flower shop on the first floor and spread to a recreational center on the second story where 200 people were dancing, according to Xinhua.

It said 19 people died there from suffocation, while two others were killed in the flower shop. The cause was under investigation, Xinhua said.

China often has fires and other deadly accidents in public places from shopping malls to hospitals despite repeated safety crackdowns. Most are blamed on lax safety procedures and negligence.

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