Fire in private orphanage kills seven children in central China

BEIJING (AFP) - Seven children died and another was injured in a fire at a private orphanage in central China today, the local government and state media said.

Flames swept through the home for orphans and abandoned children in Lankao, Henan province, for around two hours before they were put out, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Four children died at the scene and three on their way to hospital, it said.

One child, aged about 10, was injured and hospitalised, according to a spokesman for the local government, who declined to be named. He was not aware of the dead children's ages.

"The cause of the fire is still under investigation," the spokesman said, adding it was unclear how many people were inside the facility when the fire broke out.

The orphanage was owned by a local street seller named Yuan Lihai, he added, but said he did not know whether it was licensed by local authorities.

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