A major fire Thursday night engulfed a skyscraper under construction in the tourist heart of Hong Kong, with authorities noting Friday morning that the fire had been “largely extinguished”.
An AFP correspondent immediately said black concrete walls and the remains of scaffolding were seen in the morning as city workers cleared rubble from the road.
Authorities said the fire in Tsim Sha Tsui, a busy waterfront shopping and tourism district, was “largely extinguished” as of 8:30 a.m. local time Friday (0030 GMT), nine hours after it was declared.
Firefighters stated that no injuries were reported but two people suffered minor injuries and were treated.
For its part, the police told AFP that 170 residents had been moved to safe places.
Authorities also said that much of the region’s main road – and Hong Kong – had been closed, causing traffic disruptions.
The fire broke out at 11:11pm (3:11pm GMT), and flames were first seen near the scaffolding at the top of the building. The fire was visible from the harbor and ash fell in the nearby streets.
An hour later, the fire spread to the entire building under construction and descended towards the street, where hundreds of spectators had gathered.
Tosho Sai, a Japanese tourist who was staying in a nearby apartment building, said that a security personnel told everyone on his floor to leave the building after embers reached the windows of the next apartment.
On Friday, Kyung Sae-ming, a firefighting official, said the embers ignited two other fires on nearby rooftops, but they were quickly extinguished.
“The winds were strong last night, and shots were fired at five nearby buildings,” he added.
The building was under construction, at 42 stories, to house the historic Mariners Hotel and Club according to the website of its promoter, the Empire Group.
The project, valued at $764 million, was launched in 2019 and was originally scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2023, according to local media.
Asked by AFP, Empire Group did not immediately respond.
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