Three mentally disabled children were killed by poisonous gases from a coal-burning stove in northwest China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Saturday, local authorities confirmed.
The children, all boys, were found at 1:38 p.m. in their guardian's home in the Donghe District of Baotou city, a spokesman of the city government said. They died later at the hospital.
The boys, one aged 11 and the other two both nine-year-old, were left alone by Wang Runfang, their guardian, when the accident happened.
Experts from the city's public security and fire departments said the boys likely died of carbon monoxide poisoning, however, sulfur dioxide was also found in the air. The exact cause of death is still under investigation.
The boys had severe brain damage and had been taken care of in the city's welfare centre. Early this year, they were sent to Wang's home for family care. The civil affairs bureau paid Wang 1,200 yuan (US$175.4) per month.
After the accident, the local government started inspecting more than 40 homes which provide care for about 50 disabled children, most of them orphans.
The city's civil affairs bureau has set up a working team to deal with the aftermath.
(Xinhua News Agency December 29, 2008)