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33 Dead In China Hospital Fire

A fire swept through a large hospital in China's northeastern Jilian province on Thursday, killing at least 33 people including patients, official media said.

Witnesses were quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying that some people leapt from the burning hospital buildings. It was not immediately clear whether those who jumped were among the dead.

At least some of the victims were patients at the hospital died as they were being transferred to other hospitals, the news agency said.

The fire broke out at about 5 p.m. Thursday at the largest hospital in Liaoyuan city, which is southwest of Changchun, the capital of Jilin province, witnesses said.

China Daily online reports that more than 10 fire engines were at work attempting to extinguish the blaze. More were ordered in from Changchun province, Chinese news sources report.

Witnesses saw people jump off roofs of the buildings, China Daily reports.

Earlier Thursday, China's Ministry of Public Security reported that from January to November there had been 222,000 accidental fires in China, resulting in more than 2,000 deaths, Xinhua said.

In recent weeks, China has experienced a number of major accidents, including a rash of coal mining disasters that claimed several hundred lives and a major river chemical spill that forced water supplies to be shut off to the northern city of Harbin.

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