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13 killed in northern China fire, arson suspected

March 2, 2012
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BEIJING—Chinese state media say 13 people have been killed and one injured in a fire in northern China described as a suspected arson attack.

The Xinhua News Agency says the fire broke out around 4:00 p.m. (0800 GMT) Friday afternoon in a one-story house in the Shanxi provincial capital of Taiyuan.

Neighbors in the gritty coal mining center said they heard an explosion in the house around the time the fire started. Firefighters extinguished the blaze and the cause of the fire was under investigation.

Homemade explosives are often used in murders and revenge attacks in China, where private ownership of firearms is banned and guns are extremely hard to come by.

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