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Parents want answers in fire deaths
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At Shanghai Business School on Monday, painters were covering up the smoke stains in a dormitory where four female students jumped or fell to their deaths in a fire.

The emotional scars will be much more difficult to heal.

Family members of one of the young women who died smashed potted plants in anger Monday when they felt they weren't getting prompt answers about what happened in Friday's fire.

Students were traumatized at the loss of their four young friends.

And officials were still trying to explain exactly what went so badly wrong.

One of the main concerns raised by parents centered on whether the fire extinguishers in the dorm building were properly recharged and inspected.

Some of the victims' parents told reporters that when they checked the extinguishers, they found they were all produced in 1999 and the last maintenance was in 2006.

They showed pictures as proof and said the school replaced all the out-of-date extinguishers with new ones.

School officials, however, said records at the Xuhui Fire Bureau prove that the liquid inside the extinguishers wouldn't be out of date until January.

Meanwhile, on Monday morning, the school organized a tribute to the dead women, asking students to stand in mourning for one minute before class. The school also dispatched special psychological counselors to comfort students who suffered emotional trauma from witnessing the tragedy.

Flowers were laid on the concrete where the four young women landed when they plummeted from the balcony of their sixth-floor room as smoke and flames poured out.

Some students decided to move out for a few days to escape the smell of paint, and to deal with their emotions.

Two students escaped the blaze, but they haven't been seen on campus since they appeared in a TV interview on Sunday and talked about the fire.

Shen Hongyan and Zhang Yi said the bottom bunk in the dorm room they shared with the four others caught fire at about 6am.

(Shanghai Daily November 18, 2008)

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