Seven people died in a rest home fire Wednesday in China, where elderly care is a growing issue as the population ages and enforcement of safety standards is often lax.

The fire broke out at the privately-owned rest home in the northeastern province of Jilin around 4am, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

china elderly home

The blaze was extinguished within 20 minutes but seven people died, while 32 of the residents were rescued, it said. The cause was still being investigated.

A total of 338,000 cases of fire in which 1,742 people were killed were reported in China in 2015, according to government statistics.

In 2015 a blaze that killed 38 residents in a privately-owned nursing home in Henan province sparked soul-searching.

Two years earlier 11 nursing home patients burned to death in Heilongjiang in the northeast after one of them set the building on fire in a row over money.

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