At least 18 children were killed and 16 injured after a fire tore through a martial arts school in China in the early hours of the morning. At least 18 children died after a fire broke out Friday at a Chinese martial arts school in central Henan Province. According to the state-run news agency Xinhua, the dead — ages seven through 16 — had all been students who boarded at the school.
Reuters reported the blaze broke out in the early morning hours and was later extinguished, the government of Zhecheng county in Henan province said on its website.
It was unclear what caused the fire, which injured 16 people, four of whom were in serious condition, it said.
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The cause of the inferno remains a mystery, and authorities in China are currently investigating. The Guardian reported that disasters are commonplace in the country where slipshod safety protocols and spotty enforcement are the norms. The local county Communist party secretary was sacked along with three other officials, according to state media. Lou Yangsheng, Henan’s provincial Communist party boss — the highest official in the region — called the blaze a “profound lesson. Henan is considered the birthplace of the historic Chinese martial arts and is also home to the famous Shaolin Temple, where Kung Fu is said to have been first developed.