China Building Fire Kills at Least 39, With Others Trapped

A fire in a commercial building in southeastern China killed at least 39 people on Wednesday, as emergency workers raced to rescue people still trapped inside.

The fire broke out around 3:30 p.m. local time in Xinyu, a city in Jiangxi Province, in the basement of a building that housed an internet cafe on the ground floor and an educational center upstairs, according to Chinese state media and a local government announcement.

A video posted on social media by the Communist Party-affiliated outlet Beijing News showed thick black smoke billowing out of windows.

Other videos posted by social media users on Wednesday, of what appeared to be the same building, showed people jumping from upper floors to a mattress on the ground outside, and a boy climbing down a ladder, wearing a backpack.

At least nine people were injured, and after 8 p.m., rescue workers were still searching for people inside, according to a post by China Central Television, the state broadcaster, on the social media platform Weibo.

In response to the fire, Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, called for “deep reflection” on the tragedy’s cause, state media said. He noted that this was “yet another major production safety accident that has happened recently.”

On Friday, a fire at a kindergarten and elementary school dorm in central China’s Henan Province killed 13 people. While the state broadcaster did not identify the victims of that fire, some state-affiliated news media said that they had been in the same third-grade class.

A fire at a mall in Xinyu also killed two people in late December.

Research was contributed by Joy Dong, Li You, Chris Buckley and Siyi Zhao.