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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has jailed 21 people for their roles in a deadly fire that killed 39 elderly people at a private nursing home two years ago, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

Xinhua said the nursing home in the central Henan province had been illegally extended and flammable materials had been used on the extension.

Fan Huazhi, legal representative for the nursing home, received a prison term of nine years while contractor Feng Chunjie, who did not have the appropriate work certificate, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.

The other defendants, including firefighting officers and managers at the nursing home, received jail terms ranging from two-and-a-half to eight years.

Reuters was unable to reach Fan or Feng for comment.

China has had a history of similar disasters as workers are often poorly trained or ill-equipped to protect themselves from accidents. In January, a fire at another nursing home in northeastern China killed seven people.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh)

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