Chinese officials suspended after fire

Jan. 8, 2013 at 2:02 PM

ZHENGZHOU, China, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Six local officials in central China have been suspended following a deadly fire in an unofficial orphanage, authorities said Tuesday.

Sources in Henan province told Xinhua, the official government news agency, one of the officials was the top civil affairs officer in Lankato County, Yang Peimin. They said the officials will remain on suspension while the fire, which killed six children and a 20-year-old man, is investigated.

Yuan Lihai, a resident of Lankato County, had adopted a large group of orphaned and abandoned children. Authorities said the fire broke out Friday morning while she was escorting older children to school.

China Daily said the children apparently started the fire while they were playing. It was unclear from news reports who the 20-year-old was.

Yuan had been the subject of favorable news stories in the past for taking in dozens of abandoned children, most of them with congenital problems.

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