BEIJING (AFP) - China's top safety watchdog on Wednesday blamed poor construction and the absence of rigorous safety as being behind a fire at a nursing home that left 38 people dead, state media reported.
Citing the results of a preliminary investigation into Monday night's disaster in central China, State Administration of Work Safety deputy head Sun Huashan said that fire-damaged bungalows at the facility had been built using steel sheets filled with flammable materials, according to state news agency Xinhua.
Fire exits were poorly designed while safety checks, fire and electricity management and the emergency response system were all found lacking, Sun said.
Sun also pointed the finger at government, saying that officials did not properly ensure relevant laws were enforced, the report said.
China on Tuesday moved swiftly to order nationwide safety checks of public buildings in response to the fire, which also left six people injured, at the privately-owned facility in Pingdingshan in Henan province.
The Ministry of Public Security ordered an immediate check of nursing homes, kindergartens, child centres and hospitals across the country, Xinhua said.
The news agency also said on Tuesday that 12 staff members of the home had been taken into custody as part of the investigation into the disaster while police were searching for another three.
China has a dire industrial safety record, with accidents and fires common. Enforcement of safety standards is often lax, with some property and business owners paying off corrupt officials to look the other way.