BEIJING: A fire early Saturday at a hotel in China has left at least 18 people dead, according to an initial death toll given by state media.
The incident started during the night in the hotel in Harbin, capital of the northeastern Heilongjiang province, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
"At 10:50 (0250 GMT) 18 people were already confirmed dead. The rescue operation is ongoing," the agency said in a report, citing information from local firefighters.
"An enquiry into the causes of the fire is underway," it added, without giving further details.
Hotel fires are common in China, where fire security regulations are routinely neglected.
In April, 18 people were killed and five more injured in a fire at a karaoke establishment in the country's south.