Fire engulfs skyscraper in China’s Changsha city

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BEIJING – A fire overtook a skyscraper in the central Chinese city of Changsha on Friday, but no injuries were reported, according to authorities.

According to state broadcaster CCTV, the fire started on the 42nd level of a building that housed the office of the state-owned telecoms corporation China Telecom.

CCTV said that “thick smoke billowed from the location, as hundreds of storeys burned violently.”

Later, the provincial fire service stated on social media that “the fire has been extinguished, and we have not yet detected any casualties.”

An early CCTV image showed orange flames raging through a structure in a densely populated region of the city, while black smoke billowed into the sky.

Later images uploaded on social media appeared to show that the flames had died down, while rescue personnel blasted water jets onto the burned facade.

“By around 4:30 p.m. today, the fire at our No. 2 Communications Tower in Changsha had been extinguished,” China Telecom reported on social media.

“There have been no victims discovered to date, and communications have not been disrupted.”

Several individuals were seen leaving the building as blazing rubble dropped from the top stories, according to a video published on social media.

The clip was not immediately verified by AFP.

Changsha, Hunan province’s capital, has a population of roughly 10 million people.

According to CCTV, the 218-meter (715-foot) building was built in 2000 and is positioned near a major ring road.

Fires are widespread in China, where inadequate building code enforcement and rampant unauthorized construction make it impossible for residents to leave burning structures.

According to state media accounts, a warehouse fire in northeastern Jilin province killed at least 15 people and injured at least 25 others in July of last year.

A month earlier, a fire at a martial arts school in northern Henan province killed 18 individuals, mostly youngsters, generating outrage about fire safety regulations.

Another two dozen people were killed in a pair of fires in Beijing’s migrant areas in 2017, while 58 died in a massive fire that rushed through a 28-story Shanghai apartment block in 2010.

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