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Fire in Chinese restaurant kills eleven diners

Three people have been arrested in connection with a restaurant fire in north China that killed 11 people and injured 16, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The blaze Saturday night at the popular Baixinglou restaurant in Liaoning province's Chaoyang city raged for about an hour before it could be extinguished. The victims included eight diners and three waitresses, Xinhua said, citing Zhang Minghua, deputy director of the Chaoyang Municipal Public Security Bureau.

Zhang said police have arrested 27-year-old cook Wang Yonghai, restaurant manager Zhang Chaohui and chef Wang Zhidong. They were also questioning restaurant board chairman Li Yang and two other cooks.

According to police, Wang Yonghai was preparing dishes using an oven that he wasn't qualified to operate. Because he was unfamiliar with it, Wang used too much cooking oil, which spilled and started the fire.

All of the 16 injured were out of danger Monday, though 14 were still hospitalized, Xinhua said, citing local health official Wu Xianqi.