Witnesses Accuse Authorities of Concealing Death Toll in Taizhou Fire Accident

February 8, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: February 8, 2007 12:00 am

CHINA—Witnesses to a fire that broke out in a building in Taizhou City, Zhejian province claim that the actual death toll of the incident is higher than what CCP's official news agency has reported.

A report by Chinese communist regimes' official news agency Xinhua said that the death toll of the fire incident, which broke out in the early hours of February 4 on the second floor of the building, is 17.

However, an eyewitness told The Epoch Times that the actual number of people who died on the scene is closer to 30.

“There were around 60 to 70 people living in the building, only 20 people managed to escape,” said the witness, who wished to remain anonymous.

“Eleven stores were damaged and over 20 apartments upstairs were completely destroyed, over 10 apartments upstairs were half-destroyed, and a factory was completely burnt.”

A Xinhua Net report on February 4 stated that when alarm was raised, “The Fire Department rapidly mobilized and extinguished the fire.” The regime's official media reported the accident happened at 1:40 a.m. According to a local resident however the fire occurred around 12:40 a.m. and the fire engine did not arrive at the scene until more than one hour later. As a result the firemen were unable to rescue many of the building's residents.

Another local resident said, “The last emergency call we made was at12:47 a.m., and the fire engine arrived on 1:50 a.m. and on their arrival the fire fighting equipment malfunctioned as no water came out of the fire hose, which wasted more precious time in saving more lives.”

Some residents expressed that the local authority is now trying to walk away from the compensation issue and that people have to take upon themselves to get help.