An electrical problem that caused a curtain to be ignited was blamed for the fire that stormed through Dukezong Ancient Town over the weekend, worsened by the failure of a million-dollar fire prevention system. The flames destroyed hundreds of buildings and Tibetan cultural relics.
Liu Qiusheng, the deputy executive chief of Shangri-la county said that no deaths were reported from the blaze that ravaged at least 343 structures and left 2,600 homeless, according to the New York Times.
The fire started at the Ruyi Inn, and its proprietor, a 41-year-old woman from Shanghai, has been detained as part of the investigation, Mr. Liu said, according to a report in The Beijing Times.
Other officials declined to confirm the fire’s cause. When asked by reporters about the electrical problem, Qi Xiaodong, the deputy public security chief for Deqen Prefecture, a larger entity that includes Shangri-La County, said only that the investigation was continuing, The Beijing Times reported.
Strong winds and a heavy concentration of wooden buildings made it especially hard for firefighters to control the flames that raged on for nearly 10 hours.
The Telegraph reports that a $1.45 million (8 million yuan) fire prevention system wasn’t functioning properly and had been shut down to prevent pipes from bursting in the cold temperatures. The freezing weather also led to lowered water pressure in hydrants around the town, further contributing to difficulties in battling the blaze.
[Image via Xinhua]