Fire at NE China nursing home kills 11 residents

BEIJING (AP) — An angry resident set fire to a nursing home in northeastern China early Friday, killing himself and 10 other elderly residents, local authorities said.

The Hailun city government said the blaze was set early Friday in the home’s hospice wing by a 45-year-old man who had been sent there three years ago after suffering from thrombosis, and who has no income and no one to care for him.

It said the man, Wang Gui, had argued Thursday with another resident he suspected of stealing 200 yuan ($33) from him, screaming at staff and smashing windows.

Staff thought that they had calmed him down, but he grew agitated again later in the night before setting the fire. Two other residents were hospitalized for smoke inhalation following the blaze.

It said Wang died at the scene.

The official Xinhua News Agency said 32 seniors were registered in the hospice wing. It said 283 seniors live in the home and most are retired farmers.

Hailun is in Heilongjiang province about 650 kilometers (400 miles) northeast of Beijing. The area is one of China’s main grain-producing regions.

With a rapidly aging population and under-resourced social security net, China faces increasing pressure to provide safe and affordable care for the elderly.

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