Power failure led to deadly forest fire in SW China: investigation

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CHENGDU, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Power failure has been confirmed as the cause of a forest fire that killed 19 in southwest China's Sichuan Province in March, local authorities said on Monday.

On March 30, a fire broke out on a farm in the city of Xichang in Sichuan and quickly spread to nearby mountains due to strong winds. A total of 19 people -- 18 firefighters and a local forest farmworker who led their way -- died while battling the fire.

An investigation team set up by the provincial government in April released a report on Monday, establishing that a specific combination of wind force and wind direction on the day led to a power failure, sparking a fire that then spread to nearby weeds and bushes.

The report also noted human errors that led to the tremendous losses of lives and property in the accident. The local government hastily launched an unscientific firefighting operation without having a clear understanding of the fire situation or seeking advice from experts.

Outdated and inadequate firefighting infrastructure and the lack of a scientific and operable contingency plan were also blamed, according to the report.

Several related enterprises and individuals have received punishments, and an employee of a local power supply station has been transferred to the judicial department for further investigation. Enditem

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