The fire at the disco in the old city killed over three hundred, all by smoke inhalation and suffication. When some kinds of materials, particularly plastics, are ignited, fumes are produced that kill very quickly, well ahead of heat and flame. The building was being renovated to open a new brach of the "Dennis" supermarket chain, part of the new China. They decided to do this in the oldest part of the city, in an empty government building. The workers were on the first three flooors and the party, for the staff of the new store was on the fourth floor. Having been on the fourth floors of public buildings here , I'm sure that the people never had a ,that most of them were gone in few minutes. My friend David, who is our international liason here at the school, has a friend who is a nurse at the main hospital here, around the corner from our school. ABout 100 of the victims came to this hospital, but , of course, there was little a hospital could do for them. Apparantly there were two or three survivors, but their lungs are so damaged that they are not expected to live. SO she has been attending to the bodies. She said that she had one body whose cell phone kept ringing in his pocket, as his anxious family called to find out how he was. She is very upset by the whole thing, says it makes her re-think her career in nursing. The city is in shock, but I don't have much more information than you can get through CNN. It's the case that somebody was undoubtedly paid off to let the disco open, and this is the big deal in China, as the government tries to deal with problems of internal corruption. Last year, a very high provincial official in the South was shot for taking bribes and helping himself to the state treasury. A very sad Christmas here, I did not know anyone killed or injured, but I get some regular stories from David's friend.
Seth from China