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Mom jumps, but little girl dies in fire
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A mother's courageous two-story jump in a bid to save her daughter from a Shanghai apartment fire has ended tragically.

As flames engulfed their bedroom, the mother tied her six-year-old daughter to her back with a quilt and leapt from the window.

The quilt was tied too loosely and the little girl fell back into the bedroom as the mother, a 36-year-old migrant worker from Hunan Province surnamed Ouyang, jumped.

The girl was screaming for her mother from the flaming room but did not jump and died in the fire.

The blaze started in a two-story apartment block at 5 North Hongqiao Street in Pudong about 3am yesterday.

A neighbor living on the same floor, surnamed Li, said heavy smoke in the bedroom woke up her family.

"My husband told me there must be a fire, so I took my baby and ran down to the ground floor," Li said. "Then I saw the woman from next door (Ouyang) sitting on the ground."

Another neighbor, surnamed Chen, said of Ouyang: "She was looking at the second-floor window, and kept crying and shouting for someone to save her daughter."

The fire started in a kitchen on the ground floor when Ouyang and her daughter were asleep in their bedroom above, witnesses said.

The ground-floor apartment was lived in by the girl's uncle. He went out with her father the previous night and didn't returned home.

As the fire spread to the stairwell and blocked her way out, Ouyang decided to risk the leap.

"She wrapped herself in a colorful quilt, tied her daughter on her back and then jumped," Chen said.

"She didn't fasten the quilt tight enough, so the girl was left behind when she jumped," Chen said. "The girl was leaning out the window and kept shouting "Mom! Mom!"

As the fire grew in intensity, the girl's cries fell silent as Ouyang, weeping, looked on helplessly.

Firefighters put out the blaze about 3:30 am, and paramedics said the girl had died at the scene.

Ouyang was taken to hospital to be treated for a broken arm and shock.

Old electric wiring may have been partially to blame for the fire, according to investigators.

(Shanghai Daily November 19, 2008)

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