BEIJING (AP) — A fire at an illegal shoe factory in southeastern China killed 36 people and injured at least 20, authorities said Monday.
The blaze broke out Sunday night in a workshop making shoe uppers, and was extinguished one hour later, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The factory in Fujian province, a manufacturing and trading center, was operating without a license, the State Administration of Work Safety said on its Web site.
The government agency said 36 people were killed and 20 injured, though the Xinhua report had said 34 were killed and 21 injured.
Factory accidents in China kill thousands each year in fires, explosions and other incidents, most often blamed on insufficient safety equipment and workers ignoring safety guidelines.
A woman in the publicity department of Putian city's Public Security Bureau confirmed the blaze and said it likely started when an electric wire caught fire. Police were investigating, she said.
A man in the duty office of Fujian's Administration of Work Safety also confirmed the fire, but said he did not know details. Phones at Putian city's Administration of Work Safety, Public Security Bureau, and the Xiuyu district government rang unanswered.