A fire in a shopping mall in northern China has killed 18 people and injured 24, the government said Saturday.

The fire broke out about 9 a.m. local time Friday in a shopping centre in the downtown Hunchun Road shopping area of the city of Jilin, the State Administration of Work Safety reported. It burned for 12 hours before being extinguished, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The government said an investigation into the cause of the blaze was underway.

Calls to the city government, police and emergency services rang unanswered on Saturday.

The building was constructed in 1987 and contained 64 shops mainly specializing in home electronics, garments and furniture, Xinhua said.