22 dead after fire breaks out at Chinese dormitory, police looking for arsonist suspects

Police in China have arrested a suspect over an arson attack on a dormitory that left 22 dead.

The horrifying event happened in Changsha, Jiangsu province, on Sunday (July 16), reports South China Morning Post

A fire had broken out at about 4.30am, quickly engulfing the two-storey house.

During the time of the incident, a restaurant had rented the unit to house its employees.

The Jiangsu police said that the perpetrators had locked the doors from the outside, trapping many of the occupants. 

Traces of petrol were also found at the scene.

It took over 100 firemen, 50 fire engines and nearly 12 hours of work to extinguish the blaze.

When the fire was finally put out, emergency workers recovered 22 bodies. 

Only three occupants had escaped the conflagration with minor injuries. 

Local media reported that a restaurant worker had said that all the victims were colleagues who had lived in the house for over two years. 

The worker added: "There were more than 20 people, from all over the country. They were about 25 years of age on average.  They included waiters, waitresses and chefs."

The Jiangsu police said that they have identified some suspects from surveillance footage and have issued warrants for them.