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At least 13 dead in school dormitory fire in China

At least 13 people have died in a fire at a school dormitory in central China, according to Chinese state media.

The fire broke out around 11 p.m. Friday evening local time at Yingcai School near the city of Nanyang, Henan province, Xinhua reported.

Local authorities said that in addition to the deaths, one person had been injured and was being treated in hospital.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze by 11:38 p.m., state media reported.

Local authorities are investigating the cause of the fire, the report said, adding that a “person in charge of the school” had been detained.

A student told the state-run Beijing Youth Daily that he had been woken in the middle of the night by a teacher who told him to flee as the smell of smoke filled the air.

Parents who spoke to the newspaper said students at the boarding school are allowed to go home once every 10 days, for four days. One said that students were due to have exams before their holidays begin next week.

The fire has become one of the most searched items on the Twitter-like Chinese social media site Weibo, with more than 16 million people reading about it by Saturday afternoon.

One user with more than 920,000 followers noted that the fire came just days ahead of the Chinese New Year school holidays when students traditionally head home to spend time with their families.

“The spring festival is coming soon, which is the day for family reunion. Such a tragedy will cause such great pain for these 13 families,” the user wrote.

Another user called for accountability, saying “I hope the cause of the fire can be found.”

This is a developing news story. More to come

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