18 killed, 16 injured in fire at martial arts school in China’s Henan province

A fire at a martial arts school in China killed 18 and injured 16 – many of them young children.

Most of the victims were reportedly pupils aged between 7 and 16 who lived and studied at the Zhenxing Martial Arts Centre in Henan province.

The blaze broke out early on Friday and has been put out, local authorities said, but it is unclear how it started.

The Zhecheng county government on its official WeChat channel said the person in charge of the martial arts centre was arrested.

Government officials told Beiing Toutiao News that there were 34 boarding students at the centre when the fire broke out at 3:00am on Friday.

Injured students were quickly rushed to a local hospital.

“At Zhenxing, the kids would study and practice martial arts in the day and live there every night. I don’t know what caused the fire,” Reuters quoted the father of a nine-year-old boy who survived.

Fatal fires are common in China, largely due to poor safety regulations.

Home of the famous Shaolin Temple, Henan province is known to be the birthplace of Chinese martial arts, where thousands of students study in kung fu training camps.