Beijing: A major fire which broke out in a four-storied garment workshop in the southern Beijing suburb today accounted for the death of 17 people and 24 others were injured.

The fire broke out in the building in Jiugong town in Daxing district at around 1 am, deputy head of the district government, Chang Hongyan said.

Initial investigation showed the fire started at the first floor of the workshop which was unlicensed. The above stories were used to accommodate workers, who were all migrants, said a media report.

The building belongs to a local resident named Zhang and its construction was not approved by local authorities, Chang said.

Most of the 17 killed died on the first floor after inhaling excessive smoke, the district official said.

Photos of the building showed that the windows were all barred with iron fences, which may have prevented the trapped people from escaping, the report said.