Fire at Department Store in China Kills 14

A pre-dawn fire at a commercial building in eastern China killed at least 14 people on Thursday, state media said.

The blaze in a five-story department store in Zhejiang province's Huzhou city started at about 4:30 a.m. (2030 GMT Wednesday), the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The building was home to at least 18 people, the report said. Two people were rescued from a window on the fifth floor, it said, citing rescuers. It was not immediately known whether the two people not accounted for were in the building when the fire broke out, Xinhua said.

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Nearly 100 firefighters were sent to the site and about 150 residents who lived near the building were evacuated, it said. The fire was doused by 11 a.m. (0300 GMT)

The bottom three floors of the building housed department stores with large stocks of clothes, Xinhua said, and the upper two floors were used for offices and housing quarters.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

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