BEIJING, China (AP) _ Fire erupted in a shopping mall in northwestern China, killing at least eight people and injuring 23 others, state media reported Sunday.

The fire broke out Friday evening on the third floor of the six-story People's Shopping Mall in Baoji in Shaanxi province, the newspaper Guangming Daily and the Xinhua News Agency said.

Six of the dead suffocated and two were killed when they fell trying to escape, the reports said.

It took more than 400 firefighters and 31 fire engines about three hours to extinguish the flames.