BEIJING -- A total of 499 Chinese people were killed and another 234 injured by fires in the first quarter, the Ministry of Public Security (MPC) said Thursday.
More than 80,000 fires were reported in the first three months, causing direct economic losses of 800 million yuan ($115 million), year-on-year drops of 27.7 percent and 37 percent respectively, said the ministry.
The number of deaths and injuries decreased by 17.2 percent and 28.4 percent compared with the same period in 2016.
Two major accidents causing more than 10 deaths took place in Taizhou city in Zhejiang Province and Nanchang city in Jiangxi Province, respectively.
There were 28,000 fires reported in rural areas and 22,000 in cities.
Misuse of electrical equipment was among the top causes of accidents.