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Fire Claims 6 Children at Unlicensed Orphanage

8 People in 2-Room Apartment in China

SIX CHILDREN AND ONE ADULT died this morning (Friday) when a fire trapped them in their 2-room house that was being used as an illegal orphanage in China's Henan province.  There were a total of eight people inside the home when the fire started at 8:30 am.  The only survivor, a child is hospitalized.

Xinhua News Agency

Xinhua News is reporting:

Eight people, including a 20 year old and seven children, were inside the two-room private house when the fire broke out around 8:30 a.m., a spokesman with the county government said.

All eight were orphans or abandoned children. Four of them died at the scene, while another three lost their lives on the way to a local hospital, the spokesman said.

The house is an unregistered private orphanage used by local woman Yuan Lihai, 48, to shelter orphans and abandoned children.

Xinhua

Yuan hired workers to take care of 34 "adopted" orphans and abandoned children, 21 male and 13 female, in two separate private houses in the county. Most of the "adopted" are either disabled or have illnesses.

However, Yuan's "adoptions" were unlawful, and the civil affair authorities of Lankao county helped a welfare center in Kaifeng City to take five children from her in Sept. 2011.

Some neighbors say that Yuan, a street vendor, has provided shelter to dozens of children over two decades.

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