Eleven elderly people were killed when an angry resident set fire to a nursing home in north-eastern China today, local authorities said.
The Hailun city government said the blaze was set in the home’s hospice wing by a 45-year-old man who was sent there three years ago after suffering from thrombosis, and who has no income and no-one to care for him.
It said the man, Wang Gui, had argued with another resident he suspected of stealing 200 yuan (€24.50) from him, screaming at staff and smashing windows.
Staff thought that they had calmed him down, but he grew agitated again later in the evening before setting the fire. Two staff members were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation following the blaze.
A statement from the city government posted online said 32 elderly people were registered in the hospice wing. It said 283 live in the home and most are retired farmers.
Hailun is in Heilongjiang province about 400 miles (650km) north-east of Beijing. The area is one of China’s main grain-producing regions.
With a rapidly ageing population and under-resourced social security net, China faces increasing pressure to provide safe and affordable care for the elderly.