Bus Fire in China Leaves 47 Dead

A Bus Fire in the Chinese city of Xiamen on Friday evening, was intentionally set, and left 47 dead.  A commuter bus was traveling through the prosperous port city on and elevated part of the road when it burst into flames.  In addition to the 47 deaths, 34 more suffered various degrees of injuries.

The police believe that a 59 year old man by the name of Chen Shuizong deliberately set the fire.  He perished in the fire, and a suicide note was found at his home.Xiamen-Street

Investigators found traces of gasoline in the charred bus.  It ran on diesel.

“He was unhappy with life and set the fire to vent his anger,” the city said. Xiamen’s municipal government issued the notice Saturday through state media and a Xiamen police microblog.

China has seen bombings and arson of buses and public buildings in recent years, sometimes by people trying to settle personal scores and also by people with overtly political grievances. In 2009 an unemployed man set fire to a packed bus in the central city of Chengdu, killing himself and 26 others.

A microblog was discovered Thursday, and believed to be that of Shuizong.  In it he claimed to be destitute, and said he wanted to live.  He was desperate and had pleaded with police to change his age so he could receive China’s form of social security.

Witnesses say they heard several explosions about 10 minutes after the fire began.

Xiamen was known for centuries in the West as Amoy. It had suspended service of the entire express bus system after Friday’s fire, but operations resumed Saturday morning.

Reports said that the charred remains of many of the passengers were piled, as if they were attempting to flee the bus where 47 Chinese lost their lives.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express