Huge fire tears through Hong Kong skyscraper raining embers on street below

Huge fire tears through Hong Kong skyscraper raining embers on street below

March 2, 2023

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Two people have reportedly been taken to hospital after a fire ripped through a hotel being built in the heart of Hong Kong’s shopping district.

The blaze broke out at the construction site Friday evening, local time.

Scaffolding was engulfed by the flames while burning embers littered down below Middle Road in Tsim Sha Tsui of southern Kowloon.

The site is surrounded by a popular shopping small, hotels, a children’s playground, subway stations and both residential and commercial buildings.

Fire marshals are still trying to extinguish the blaze but managed to put out four others that spread from the high-rise to nearby buildings.

South China Morning Post reported that two motorists were injured and have been taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei for treatment.

The conditions of the injured people are unclear.

The fire was first spotted at around 11pm, with the bamboo scaffolding near the top of the 42-storey complex seen alight.

Bamboo is a go-to material for scaffolding in Hong Kong and, if put up properly, can be stronger than steel.

An orange glow soon spread across the sky, with the flames visible across the harbour.

Around an hour later, the fire had raced down the length of the building along the bamboo canes and hurtled towards street level.

Firefighters used two jets and two teams to get a group of the blaze that blew out windows and left the skyscraper blackened.

Embers raining down the neighbourhood saw the Chung King Mansion on Nathan Road, the Fast East Mansion and a shopping complex on 26 Nathan Road also set alight.

But the drifting sparks also raised fears of further fires igniting at a nearby Sheraton Hotel and Hermes House, an office block.

In a Facebook post, the Hong Kong Fire Services Department said: ‘A fire broke out at 11 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui yesterday (2 March) at 11.11 m and was upgraded to level 3 at 11:37 pm.

‘The fire was upgraded to No. 4 alarm today (3 March) at 1:46 am.

‘In addition to carrying out fire fighting operations at the site involved, fire officers have also been deployed to nearby buildings to prevent the spread of the fire.’

The service advised people in the nearby area to close their doors and windows and ‘stay calm’.

The site is a redevelopment of the former Mariners’ Club, a club for sailors which opened in 1967.

After its demolition in 2018, property developer the Empire Group took over to build the 500-room Kimpton Hotel, according to its website.

The site, soon to be a new ‘harbourside icon’ intended to house the club and a hotel, was expected to be finished in the first half of 2023.

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