Short circuit blamed for barn fire

CNC reporting from Heilongjiang
Added On June 4, 2013

Now, turning to the barn fire in northeastern Heilongjiang Province.

On Monday, investigators said the fire engulfed 1,000 tonnes of grain stocks including corn, rice and soybean.

And they said it was caused by a short circuit, not by arson.

The fire was spotted at one barn on Friday afternoon in Huayuan Township of Lindian County, a major grain base of China.

Due to strong wind and high temperature, the blaze quickly spread to 78 barns, with a total grain reserve of 47,000 tonnes.

It was put out three hours later by 1,600 workers.

Investigators tracked the origin of the fire to a power distribution box in the first barn to be set alight.

They sent material evidence to a professional fire evaluation center affiliated to the Ministry of Public Security.

Investigation and identification results showed sparks from a broken wire ignited reed mats and sacks nearby, and finally caused the barn fire.

Among the affected barns, 60 were filled with corns and 18 with rice.

Two tonnes of grains in each barn were burnt.

Total economic losses amounted to 489,000 U.S. dollars.

On Monday, nine people were transferred to local public security bureau, charged with the crime of negligence in a major-liability accident.

The grain storage center, established in 1961, has an area of 220,000 square meters.

It's operated by the Heilongjiang branch of China Grain Reserves Corporation.

The company has arranged 500 trucks to transport the remaining grain stocks to other barns for storage.

A total of 140,000 tonnes of grains were stocked there when the fire happened.