Xinhua News Agency

Fire engulfs unfinished high-rise

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 October, 2008, 12:00am

Fire yesterday swept through part of an unfinished 28-storey residential complex in Harbin , Heilongjiang , belching dense smoke but causing no casualties.

The blaze, which broke out around 4pm in one of the building's twin towers being built in the Daoli district, took three hours to extinguish, official sources said.

The four-storey building connecting the towers also caught fire, and people trapped on the roof of that structure screamed for help, Xinhua said. There were also occasional explosions and objects falling from the burning tower.

In all, at least 21 workers who were fitting out the building's interior were rescued, Xinhua said, without saying whether any workers were still trapped. The provincial government website set the number of construction workers rescued at 61.

'The building on fire is a project still under construction and not yet inhabited, so no casualties were reported,' an official from Heilongjiang's fire department said.

The official said the fire did not seriously disrupt the neighbourhood, and there were no evacuations of the surrounding area, even though the building is in a busy business district.

Another Harbin firefighting official said the cause of the blaze was unclear, and there were no estimates of property loss.

'We are now putting all our efforts into the fire and damage control, and relevant technical work like assessing property losses will come afterwards,' he said.

Photographs published on a Heilongjiang government-owned website showed a wall of fire covering one side of one of the twin towers.

Footage of the blaze taken by members of the public quickly swept across major mainland internet portals.

Xinhua said the building was part of a residential complex called Jingwei 360 Plaza.