Beijing: Thirty nine people were killed and over 10,000 evacuated in more than 13,000 fire accidents caused by fireworks display during the week-long Chinese new year holidays that concluded on Thursday.
A total of 13,796 fires occurred during China’s week-long Spring Festival holiday that ends Thursday, in which 39 people were killed and 10,523 others evacuated, the Ministry of Public Security said.
The fires resulted in direct economic losses of 44.63 million yuan (USD 6.49 million) marking a 54.1 per cent drop compared with the same period last year, the ministry said in a statement.
The number of fires and fire casualties decreased by 11.8 per cent and 26.4 per cent respectively year on year, it said.
Fires are usually caused by setting off fireworks and firecrackers during the holiday as the Chinese believed the noise will drive away bad spirits and bring good luck.
However, sales of fireworks have dropped in recent years in cities amid pollution concerns and government restrictions. Nationwide, 444 cities have banned fireworks and 764 other cities imposed restrictions on setting off fireworks, state run Xinhua news agency reported.