Suspect in fatal China bus fire identified

Updated: 2013-06-08 08:24


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XIAMEN - A suspect has been identified in the case of Friday's fatal bus fire that has claimed 47 lives and hospitalized 34 in the eastern Chinese city of Xiamen, local police said Saturday via their official microblog.

Initial investigation has suggested the bus fire is a suspected "serious criminal case," the local government said at a press conference on Saturday morning.

Investigation by experts and police has cast doubt on technical failure being the cause of the blaze. The tires and oil tank of the BRT (bus rapid transit) bus, which caught fire in Xiamen City at about 6:20 p.m. on Friday, were not damaged before the fire. The combustion improver was gasoline while the bus was equipped with a diesel engine.

Suspect in fatal China bus fire identified

A bus is totally destroyed after a fire in Xiamen city, East China's Fujian province on June 7, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

A spokesman from the municipality government said further investigation is under way.

A working team led by State Councilor and Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun arrived in Xiamen at around 1 a.m. on Saturday.

After inspecting the scene and comforting the injured in hospitals, Guo demanded experienced medical staff work hard to save the lives of the injured and ensure they receive the best and timely treatment.

He ordered a thorough inspection of the scene and for the truth about the incident to be established.

The Public Security Ministry has urged Fujian police departments to take rapid and effective measures to carry out a safety overhaul of public transport and other sectors and ensure overall social stability.

The ministry also demanded police ensure the smooth administration of the ongoing national college entrance exams, which started on Friday and will end on Sunday, testing more than nine million examinees.

The BRT bus line in Xiamen resumed operation on Saturday morning, meaning it can play its part in helping candidates reach their exams on time. There will be strict safety checks on passengers' luggage by bus station staff.

Two exam candidates in Xiamen were injured in the bus fire, and they are now receiving treatment at the No. 174 Hospital.

Xiamen's BRT system, operational since August 2008, is an important means of transportation for Xiamen residents, as more than 265,000 people travel daily on the network.

The fire occurred during the evening rush hour, when the city's BRT buses are usually packed with commuters.

On June 5, 2009, a bus in Chengdu, capital of southwestern Sichuan Province, was set ablaze by an unemployed man with gasoline, killing 28 people and injuring more than 70.

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