Bus fire kills 17 in northern China; arsonist being sought

AP

A bus fire believed to be an act of arson killed 17 people and injured 32 on Tuesday in a northern Chinese city, authorities said.

Police were hunting a 33-year-old man suspected of setting the bus ablaze. They gave his name as Ma Yongping but did not say why he was suspected.

The fire happened in Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia region, at about 7 a.m., the regional government’s news office said.

Ningxia government said firefighters put out the flames in five minutes, and that eight of the injured were in critical condition.

It said the preliminary investigation showed the fire was an act of arson.

Several serious bus fires in recent years in China have been blamed on people who were mentally unstable or with personal vendettas.

In 2013, a fire killed 47 people on a bus in the southeastern city of Xiamen. Police concluded a resident fed up with his life set the fire in anger and killed himself in the blaze.

Last year, a 35-year-old man was executed for starting a fire on a bus in Hangzhou in July 2014 that injured 33. A court said Bao Laixu had been seeking revenge against society and because he wanted to end his own life after a relapse of tuberculosis.