A fire broke out at a high-rise residential building in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, around 8 p.m. Thursday, November 24. The fire burned for almost three hours before it was extinguished.

According to state media, the cause of the fire was a short circuit in the electrical panel. The fire started on the 15th floor, then spread to the 17th floor, and the smoke spread to the 21st floor.

State-run media CCTV announced that ten people died after the ineffective rescue, and nine people suffered moderate inhalation lung injury.

In addition, according to information shared by netizens in Xinjiang, among the dead were 3-year-old children.

Most areas of Urumqi have been under lockdown for over 100 days since August 10.

Indignant netizens denounced the mainland media’s failure to mention that stranded cars blocked the fire truck’s path, preventing the fire department from arriving in time, as well as the barricades that contributed to the total failure of the rescue. The owners of the stranded cars were all in quarantine.

Official news reports inform the people of Xinjiang that the incident occurred in “low-risk areas that can move freely downstairs.”

Netizens reacted to the authorities trying to evade responsibility with these statements dripping with sarcasm.

@ BALL is a potential stock  – BALL: “Residents can go downstairs for activities = they don’t run by themselves, it has nothing to do with me, it has nothing to do with chasing the pandemic (pandemic implementation). How dare you say it?

@ The mediocre little genius who knocked sugar Y: “Can you go downstairs for activities? The closed railing does not block the fire truck? Not blocked by private cars? The door downstairs is not locked at night? So funny

Some community residents posted videos showing that when the fire was going on, the fire engines were stranded on the way to the incident. The epidemic prevention staff had to demolish the piles and blockade barriers on the road so the fire engines could pass. Still, they couldn’t get close enough.

The video shows the fire truck was too far away to reach the fire, and the water fell uselessly on the lower floors—well short of the fire. 

The Xingjiang people and many citizens expressed their anger and dissatisfaction.

@Shark Chili Sauce : “What happened during the period from 19:54 to 22:20? This community is close to the nearest fire brigade (it takes about 10 minutes to walk over). What prevents them from rescuing? Even if the 15th floor is the fire point, it will spread to the 17th floor, and the smoke will reach the 21st floor. It doesn’t take so long….”

A community resident took footage to prove that the door was wired locked, making it impossible for the victim to get out.

“Please take a look, this is Unit 3 (incident unit) and the door is tied with iron wire. After I opened the door from Unit 4, we escaped to Unit 3 and we couldn’t get through!” 

People can be heard on the video screaming on the rooftop. 

Residents said that residents could go downstairs for activities only three hours a day, and the building doors are locked at other times.

A citizen shared a horrifying experience in the fire. Her family was lucky to escape death. But unfortunately, the three children she and her sister played with died. The youngest victim was only five. She said the parents of the three children were not at home but were in the isolation camp.

A photo that has gone viral on social media is said to be a farewell line from a couple to their three-year-old son who burned to death. 

You were born

Location: Urumqi, Xinjiang

Time: 2019.9.14

Family: You are an only child; I love you very much,

Mom and dad.

You haven’t been far since you were born,

Never fed pigeons, seen seagulls, played pass the puppy.

Your entertainment is the little while you go downstairs to do your homework.

You are three years old, and mom and dad spent the past 105 days with you.

Mom says it’s almost over! Finally, the epidemic is coming to an end.

It’s over! I can finally take you to see natural grass, blue sky, and the lake.

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