Chinese Man Sues For More Details On Fire That Killed His Family

A Chinese man whose wife and three children were killed in an arson fire last June, is suing to obtain additional information about whether firefighters mishandled the fire.

Lin Shengbin is seeking a court order from a district court in Hangzhou into the June 22, 2017 fire that killed his wife, Zhu Xiaozhen, 34, and three children, all of whom died of smoke asphyxiation. The family’s nanny, Mo Huanjing, has been sentenced to death for setting the fire. The tabloid-esque story has gripped China.

Huanjing, an obsessive gambler who was deeply in debt, admitted to setting the fire in the family’s high rise apartment in a misguided attempt to obtain money by heroically saving the family. The fire quickly became too large for her to control, trapping the victims.

Following the fire, questions arose about the slowness of the fire department’s response. The fire department pointed the finger at low water pressure and the lack of built in fire protection systems. Shengbin’s continued inquiry into the fire is said to put him at odds with “powerful”  parties within China. More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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