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Arson not ruled out in bus inferno

[ 2009-06-08 16:14]     字号 [] [] []  
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CHENGDU: Passengers say they smelled gasoline moments before flames engulfed a bus here Friday.

Dong Dingxiao was standing in the back of the bus when he noticed the smell of gasoline and heard somebody shout "the oil bottle has turned over."

"I saw the flame spreading from the back of the bus to the front as if it had come from a flamethrower in a film," he said.

Chen Kuanwen, a first grader at the Chengdu Railway Transport School, was on the last row of the bus. He said he saw a man in front of him overturn a bottle of liquid and then smelled gasoline.

The China Youth Daily interviewed eight survivors of the fire. Six mentioned smelling gasoline.

Arson has not been ruled out, said Hu Qinghan, head of the city's communications committee.

Another two people died in hospital yesterday, bringing the death toll from the fire to 27.

"Ninety-five percent of their bodies were burned. They perished despite the best medics, medicine and equipment from two hospitals," said Yang Wei, chief of the city's health bureau.

Chengdu Military Region General Hospital is treating 44 of the 72 people still recovering 18 remain in critical condition while the other 54 are in stable condition.

A press conference organized by the Chengdu municipal government on Saturday said spontaneous combustion or machine failure might not be the cause of the inferno. The municipal government said there was no evidence of an explosion.

Buses in Chengdu are taken out of service after 10 years or 500,000 km. But the bus engulfed by fire had been used for less than five years and traveled less than 270,000 km, Hu said.

The bus driver, Luo Pei, 45, was named a model worker in last year's earthquake relief by his company. Luo, who got his driver's license in 1994, has driven buses for eight years and has never violated any law, Hu said.

The bus' engine and transmission strip were intact. After the incident, its oil tank had 107 liters of diesel oil - the same amount the bus received before the incident.

Firefighters in Chengdu said only seats were combustible on a bus. If it had been spontaneous combustion, it would have burned from the bottom to the top. But the fire on Friday burned from the inside and the top of the bus.

All this pointed to an inflammable being taken onto the bus, they said anonymously.


1. How many people have so far perished on the Chengdu bus blaze?

2. What did some eye witnesses say they saw before the blaze?


1. 27

2. A man spill gasoline inside the bus which then lit

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Arson not ruled out in bus inferno

Arson not ruled out in bus infernoBrendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.

He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.