On November 16, 2023, a fire engulfed a building belonging to the Yongju Coal Industry Joint Building in Lvliang city, Shanxi Province, a major hub for coal production in northern China.
The incident resulted in the deaths of at least 26 people and caused injuries to 38. The fire broke out at about 6:50 am local time, quickly spreading through the four-story structure, which housed both offices and dormitories for the company’s employees.
Rescue efforts were implemented, with personnel evacuating dozens of people from the premises. The blaze originated in the workers’ bathhouse and was eventually contained and extinguished by mid-afternoon. The aftermath revealed a harrowing scene, with nearly all the fatalities being employees.
In response to this disaster, President Xi Jinping, who was in the United States attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco at the time, called for a thorough investigation into the incident. He emphasized the importance of identifying and mitigating hidden risks in key industries to prevent such tragedies in the future. President Xi also stressed safeguarding people’s lives and property and maintaining social stability.
Authorities have detained several people believed to be responsible for the fire, and an extensive investigation is underway to determine the exact cause and circumstances leading to the disaster.
Shanxi Province, China’s top coal-producing region, has been at the forefront of the government’s efforts to reduce the economy’s reliance on coal. The incident adds to a series of industrial accidents that have occurred in the country in recent times. In April, a hospital fire in Beijing claimed 29 lives, and an explosion in a barbecue restaurant in Yinchuan province last October resulted in 31 deaths.