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Cigarette plant arson suspect held
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A suspected arsonist has been detained after a tobacco factory caught fire early Saturday in southern China's Hainan Province, burning millions of yuan worth of tobacco and cigarettes.

A factory worker and a firefighter were injured in the incident, said police in Haikou, capital of the island province.

The suspect, who was identified as Zhou, was detained by Haikou police, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

Zhou, 41, a worker at the factory, was alleged to have lit fires at several warehouses storing tobacco and cigarettes, according to police.

More than 300 firefighters and 41 fire engines managed to put out the fire. Blazes were discovered about 4:20am on Saturday on the third floor of the plant's main building and at a warehouse on the seventh floor of a neighboring building.

Fire then spread to other stories of the two buildings and the loss might reach 10 million yuan (US$1.46 million), according to Xinhua.

Dense fumes almost choked firefighters, said Xinhua. The plant is a joint venture by Hongta Group and China National Tobacco Corp.

(Shanghai Daily July 7, 2008)

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