The Shenzhen municipal government said in a statement that the fire broke out at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Rongjian Wholesale Produce Market and engulfed an area of 1,000 square meters (yards) before being put out at 3 p.m.
It said 16 people were dead and five injured. Those hospitalized were in stable condition, the statement said.
It did not say what might have caused the fire but said the authorities would perform a thorough, citywide safety check to prevent similar incidents.
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