Fire leaves over 270 people homeless in NW China

A fire raced through hundreds of houses in a remote village in northwestern China on Sunday, leaving more than 270 people homeless in freezing temperatures, an official said. No casualties were reported.

The fire in Qawa village in Gansu province started in the morning, said a duty officer surnamed Yang at the Zhouqu county government.

Yang said the villagers’ houses were mostly made of wood. He said local authorities sent tents, food and blankets to the victims to help them cope with temperatures forecast to fall to a low of 24.8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 4 C).

The official Xinhua News Agency said the fire damaged 613 houses in the remote rural settlement. It cited a county spokesman as saying a short circuit in one of the houses may have started the fire and the village was without electricity.