Massive fire in Hong Kong high-rise construction site
  • March 3, 2023
  • Team Hongkong Journalist
  • 0

No casualties were reported but two people were having minor injuries, Fire Department says

A skyscraper under construction in the middle of a historic Hong Kong shopping and tourist district was left torrefied on Friday by huge fire flames, authorities were saying the blaze had been largely destroyed.

An AFP journalist at the scene saw blackened concrete walls and the tattered remains of bamboo-and-tarpaulin scaffolding around the building on Friday morning, as municipal workers swept roads clean of debris.

Officials said the fire in Tsim Sha Tsui on the city’s harbourfront was “largely put out” by 8:30 am local time (00:30 GMT) on Friday, nine hours after it first erupted. 

A major section of the neighborhood’s Nathan Road thoroughfare — one of Hong Kong’s main transport lifelines — had been shut. Although it is causing traffic disruptions, authorities said.

No casualties were reported, with two people treated for minor injuries, the fire department said. Police told AFP that 170 people from nearby locations were relocated to a safe distance as residue fell to the ground.

Flames were first spotted near scaffolding at the top of the building on Thursday night, with the inferno clearly visible across the harbor and sending sparks raining down onto neighboring streets.

Around an hour later, the fire had spread down the length of the building and was approaching the street level, where hundreds of onlookers had gathered.

Japanese tourist Tosho Sai, who was staying in a nearby building, said a security guard told everyone on his floor to leave after a window in the unit next door was hit by embers.

A French business traveler passing by the site said he saw “lots of debris falling” from the tower. An acrid smell permeated the air, an AFP reporter on the scene said.

Infernos were seen on the roof of an office tower across the street at around 3:30 am, prompting fears of a wider blaze in the densely built area.

On Friday, senior fire department official Keung Sai-ming said embers had sparked two fires on the roofs of nearby buildings, but they were quickly extinguished.

“Last night there were strong winds, which blew the flames toward five nearby buildings,” he said.

The building was billed as a 42-story “harbourside icon” in the making, intended to house the historic Mariners’ Club and a new hotel, according to the website of its developer, the Empire Group. 

The HK$6 billion ($764 million) redevelopment project was greenlit in 2019 and was originally expected to be completed in the first half of 2023, according to local media.

- Published By Team Hongkong Journalist

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