"It stuck to people's skin. When they tried to wipe it off, the skin would be gone too."

Suffocating fumes

Fifteen people were found dead at the bar, which is also used as a restaurant. They had apparently suffocated from the fire's fumes.

At least 17 people were taken to the Changle City Hospital for treatment, three of them are said to be in a critical condition.

It took 30 minutes for the fire to be put out by firefighters, who arrived immediately.

"The flames spread very fast and many of the diners were unable to escape," Li Ming, a customer who suffered light burns, said.

Fireworks are used widely in China, particularly during week-long Lunar New Year festivities, which ended on Saturday.

In September, 44 people died and another 64 were wounded in a blaze ignited by fireworks in a nightclub in Longgang in southern China.

In 2007, 25 people were killed and dozens injured in a fire in a karaoke club in the northeastern Liaoning province.