CHINA

Amateur footage of Shanghai high-rise inferno

 A gigantic fire engulfed a 28-storey building in central Shanghai on Monday, killing dozens and filling the city air with smoke. Our Observer was there.

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A man waits for a fireman's ladder to evacuate him from the high-rise building engulfed by a fire that killed dozens. Photo published on the blog Shinehi.

 

A gigantic fire engulfed a 28-storey building in central Shanghai on Monday, killing at least 40 people and filling the city air with smoke. Our Observer was there.

 

The building was under renovation when the blaze broke out in the early afternoon. Bright orange flames enveloped the scaffolding then spread to the building itself, gutting much of the structure. Photos and videos released by state media showed residents clinging to the scaffolding, trying to escape the flames.The total number of injured is unknown, but the official Xinhua news agency said 90 people been admitted to the hospital.

 

The building, an apartment block for teachers, was home to a total of 156 families. Residents have been evacuated to a nearby stadium where rescue officials set up a command centre.

 

 Videoa taken and published by Karl Loo on Vimeo.

 

“A massive, silent crowd just stood there, staring up at the flames”

Karl Loo works in China as a consultant in new technologies. He witnessed the fire.

 

I was working when suddenly I saw a huge cloud of smoke out of the window just two blocks away from my home. I went out into the street with my camera. I had never seen anything like this. Every single floor in the building was on fire except for the top two. A friend of mine who was staring at the scene in awe told me he saw residents jump out of the windows to escape the flames.

 

The blaze caused a huge traffic jam in the whole neighbourhood. A massive, silent crowd just stood there, staring up at the flames. Everyone was in shock. All you could hear were the sound of sirens screaming past. Personally, I got the impression that it took a while for fire trucks to get to the scene. When they arrived they drove into a thick cloud of smoke and I didn’t see anything else. We were told later that people stuck on the roof were rescued by helicopter, but I couldn’t see anything because the smoke was too thick."

 

Photo originally posted on t.sina.com.cn

 

The smouldering remains of the tower. Screenshot of a video published on YouKu.

 

 

Video posted online by Mikr7an.

 

Post written with Paul Larrouturou, journalist. Many thanks to Xiadong Du in Shanghai for his help on this piece.