China karaoke bar fire kills 18 in Yingde

Pear video of the karaoke lounge on fire Image copyright Screenshot/Pear Video

A fire at a karaoke bar in the southern Chinese city of Yingde has killed 18 people and left five others injured.

The fire broke out inside the three-storey building in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Police have arrested a 32-year-old man for suspected arson. Reports allege he blocked the bar’s only exit with a motorbike before starting the fire.

Video circulating on social media showed bystanders watching as intense flames engulfed the bar.

Police were first alerted to the fire at 00:30 local time on Tuesday (16:30 GMT Monday). It was extinguished by 00:55, according to a statement by Qingyuan police on micro-blogging site Weibo.

Suspected arsonist Liu Chunlu, who according to the police suffered from burns as a result of the fire, was arrested the next morning.

According to state broadcaster CCTV, he had blocked the only entry and exit point and then lit a fire.

Authorities had offered a 200,000 yuan (£22,746; $31,665) reward to anyone who provided information leading to the suspect’s capture.

Last year, 22 people were killed after a fire broke out in a two-storey house in eastern China. Police later arrested a man for allegedly setting the residential building on fire.

In 2016, 17 people on board a bus were killed in a suspected arson attack, with a man later arrested in connection with the incident.

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