A fire in a school dormitory killed thirteen people on Friday January 19 in Henan province, in eastern China, although it is not yet known how many children were among the victims.

“At 11 p.m. Friday [4 p.m. in Paris], the local fire department received an alert regarding a fire in the Yingcai school dormitory, in the village of Yanshanpu,” Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday official press, adding that one person had been injured. She is “currently being treated in hospital and is in stable condition,” state media said. “Emergency personnel arrived quickly at the scene and the flames were extinguished by 11:38 p.m..”

Local authorities have opened an investigation to determine the causes of the fire, state media also reported, specifying that at least one person linked to the school had been arrested.

Anger on social media

Little information is available about the school where the fire broke out Friday, but videos posted on social media before the fire showed young children — including kindergarten students — dressed in scrubs with the emblem of the establishment learning calligraphy.

On Chinese social networks, Internet users expressed their anger on Saturday, calling on the authorities to apply sanctions in the event of non-compliance with safety standards.

Accidents regularly occur in China, often due to insufficient safety standards and the corruption of those responsible for enforcing them. In November, twenty-six people died and several dozen were hospitalized due to a fire in a building of a coal production company, in Shanxi province (northeast of the country).

In Beijing, a fire in a hospital left twenty-nine dead in April, one of the worst disasters to have occurred in the capital in more than twenty years. This fire forced patients to escape through windows by hanging on sheets and to take refuge by perching on air conditioners attached to the facade.