Sunday December 10, 2023

Fire engulfs skyscraper in China’s Changsha city

September 17, 2022

BEIJING: A fire engulfed a skyscraper on Friday in the central Chinese city of Changsha, with authorities saying that no casualties had yet been found.

The blaze broke out in a 42-floor building housing an office of state-owned telecommunications company China Telecom, according to state broadcaster CCTV. "Thick smoke billowed from the site, and dozens of floors burned ferociously," CCTV reported.

The provincial fire department said later in a social media post that "at present, the fire has been extinguished, and we have not yet discovered any casualties". An initial photograph released by CCTV showed orange flames searing through the building in a built-up area of the city as black smoke billowed into the sky.

A later image shared on social media appeared to show that the flames had subsided, as emergency personnel sprayed jets of water onto its charred facade. China Telecom said in a statement on social media: "By around 4:30 pm today, the fire at our No. 2 Communications Tower in Changsha has been extinguished.

"No casualties have yet been discovered and communications have not been cut off." A video shared on social media appeared to show dozens of people fleeing the building as flaming debris fell from the upper floors.

AFP was not immediately able to verify the footage. Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, has a population of about 10 million people. The 218-metre (715-foot) building was completed in 2000 and is located near a major ring road, according to CCTV. Deadly fires are common in China, where lax enforcement of building codes and rampant unauthorised construction can make it difficult for people to flee burning buildings.