Fire in Beijing Internet Cafe Kills 24

A fire at an Internet cafe in the university district of Beijing killed 24 people, a fire official and state media said Sunday.

The fire broke out at about 2:45 a.m. at the cafe in the Haidian district in Beijing's northwest, said the Xinhua News Agency and an official reached by telephone at the Beijing fire department headquarters.

The fire was put out by 3:30 a.m., said the fire official, who wouldn't give his name. He said the cause was under investigation.

Haidian is the site of Beijing University and Tsinghua University, two of China's most prestigious schools.

No other details were immediately available.

Such deadly fires occur frequently in China, where operators of bars, cinemas, Internet cafes and other businesses often ignore fire safety rules or fail to provide emergency exits. But such an accident is unusual in the Chinese capital, where safety rules are more rigorously enforced.