by Xinhua writers Zhang Xingjun and Zhou Yan
ZHENGZHOU, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The two-story home, with its charred outer walls, shattered windows and stinging odor, was evidence of a catastrophic fire.
The blaze killed seven children Friday.
The makeshift "foster home" was at the end of a narrow lane in the center of Lankao in central China's Henan Province.
Yuan Lihai, a woman, had been helping abandoned children in her home for 26 years.
Most of the children suffered congenital diseases, ranging from cleft lips, infantile paralysis and albinism to mental disorders.
Yuan, 48, was seen as a good Samaritan by her neighbors.
Abandoned babies were sent to her from homes and hospitals.
"Many of the children would have died if she had not taken them in," a neighbor told a Xinhua reporter. Others also praised her.
However, Friday's deadly fire has put Yuan under investigation.
As of Saturday afternoon, she was unavailable for comment.
While the cause of the fire remains unclear, some were blaming Yuan, because her shelter for abandoned children was unlicensed and therefore considered "illegal."