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Jan 25, 2017

A fire Tuesday evening in a fireworks shop in Yueyang, a city in central China’s Hunan province, has killed six people, according to a report by Sixth Tone’s sister publication, The Paper, that cites local authorities.

Firefighters in Yueyang received word of the fire at 9:08 p.m., but video footage on social media suggests that by that time, it was already too late. The shop can be seen engulfed in a blaze, with fireworks going off continuously.

A blaze lasting two hours in a fireworks shop killed six people in central China’s Hunan province.

According to a statement by city authorities, the fire started because a customer tried out some firecrackers right outside the store, which ignited the fireworks stored inside.

The warehouse was located on the first floor of a four-story building. Video footage shows the homes above the warehouse ablaze, as well as several nearby cars.

The fire was extinguished by 11:20 p.m. Firefighters found one survivor on site, who has been sent to the hospital.

Initially, five people were believed to have died in the blaze. In the early hours of Wednesday, the remains of a sixth person were found.

State news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday that the person suspected of causing the fire, as well as one or more owners of the fireworks store, has been taken into custody by police. Three Party officials who held positions in the district where the fire occurred have been removed from their positions.

Saturday marks the lunar new year, a festival during which many Chinese set off fireworks in celebration. Authorities have in recent years cracked down on fireworks, for environmental as well as safety reasons. Between 2011 and 2014, more than 250 people died in some 40 fireworks-related incidents.

This article has been updated to include recent developments.

(Header image: Fireworks explode at a warehouse in Yueyang, Hunan province, Jan. 24, 2017.)