December 3, 2017 / 12:23 PM / a year ago

Chinese police detain 11 over deadly Tianjin skyscraper fire

Damage to a skyscraper can be seen after a fire broke out around 4 a.m. on the 38th floor of a serviced apartment, in Tianjin, China December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have detained 11 people in connection with a deadly skyscraper fire in the northern port city of Tianjin, the municipal government said on Sunday, after an investigation found numerous fire code violations.

The blaze which killed 10 and injured five early on Friday morning was caused by renovation materials catching fire on the 38th floor of a serviced apartment building, the Tianjin government said in a post on its official Weibo account.

It said the companies responsible for the renovations had left a fire prevention water tank empty, rendering firefighting equipment useless and allowing the fire to spread quickly.

Fire safety has come under scrutiny and attracted increased media attention in China after a deadly blaze last month killed 19 in the far southern fringe of Beijing, which has led to citywide evictions seen by some people as unfairly targeting the vulnerable underclass.

Sparks from drilling work caused a blaze at a warehouse storing rubber products in a logistics park in China’s eastern Shandong province on Friday, though no casualties were reported.

On Sunday, another fire broke out at a small insulation factory in Xian, in northwestern Shaanxi province. No casualties were reported.

All but one of the dead in the Tianjin fire were renovation workers who were sleeping on site, against regulations. All were men and all were migrant workers from other Chinese provinces.

Tianjin party secretary Li Hongzhong said authorities would carry out citywide fire safety inspections in response to Friday’s blaze, the official Tianjin Daily reported.

Reporting by Philip Wen and Gao Liangping; Editing by Mark Potter

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