Suspect in China arson attack that killed 18 nabbed; fire followed argument: report

Authorities in southern China on Tuesday arrested the man they said set fire to a three-story building that killed 18 after apparently getting into an argument with others at a karaoke parlor.

Liu Chunlu, 32, was arrested in the county-level city of Yingde, officials said. Police had offered a $32,000 reward in the investigation.

Officials said the suspect had burns on his hips but did not provide a motive for the arson. China Central Television reported on the earlier argument.

The suspect blocked the entrance of the joint with his motorcycle and then ignited it, setting it ablaze, CCTV said. The parlor had only one passage for entering and exiting, the report said.

Police, fire, health and other departments sent rescuers to the site after receiving a call around half-past midnight about the fire, authorities said.

The fire was put out at 12:55 a.m. and the injured had been sent to the hospital, the bureau said on its official account on the microblog site, Sina Weibo.

China suffers frequent deadly fires and industrial accidents, often blamed on negligence.

Last year, police arrested a man suspected of setting fire to a two-story house in eastern China, killing 22 people. At that time, investigators discovered traces of gasoline at the scene of the pre-dawn fire in Jiangsu province and found all the doors of the house locked.

The Associated Press contributed to this report