Fire engulfs skyscraper in Changsha, no deaths recorded

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

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

According to state broadcaster CCTV, the fire broke out in a 42-story building that housed an office of state-owned telecommunications company China Telecom.

“Thick smoke rose from the site and dozens of floors burned terribly,” CCTV reported.

The provincial fire department later said in a social media post that “the fire is currently out and we have not yet discovered any casualties.”

An early photo released by CCTV showed orange flames burning through the building in a built-up area of ​​the city, while black smoke billowed into the sky.

A photo later shared on social media appeared to show the flames had died down as rescuers sprayed water jets at the charred facade.

China Telecom said in a statement on social media: “At around 4:30 p.m. today, the fire at our No. 2 communication tower in Changsha was extinguished.

“No casualties have yet been discovered and communications have not been interrupted.”

Video shared on social media appears to show dozens of people fleeing the building as burning debris falls from upper floors.

Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, has about 10 million inhabitants.

According to CCTV, the 218-metre (715-foot) tall building was completed in 2000 and is near a major ring road.

Deadly fires are commonplace in China, where lax enforcement of building codes and widespread unauthorized construction can make it difficult to escape burning buildings.

At least 15 people were killed and at least 25 injured in a fire at a warehouse in northeast Jilin province last July, state media reported.

A month earlier, a fire at a martial arts school in central Henan province killed 18 people – mostly children – and sparked an outcry over fire safety standards.

Two dozen people died in two fires in Beijing’s migrant neighborhoods in 2017, while 58 died when a huge fire swept through a 28-story building in Shanghai in 2010.

  • Editor/ additional report by CCTV and AFP
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