HONG KONG (AP) — Hundreds of people were trapped on the rooftop of a Hong Kong skyscraper after a major fire broke out on Wednesday, as firefighters rushed to rescue them and put out the blaze.
The fire started in the early afternoon at the World Trade Centre on Gloucester Road in the city’s popular Causeway Bay shopping district, according to a government notice. It houses offices as well as a mall on its 38th floor.
According to officials, at least twelve people were admitted to the hospital to receive treatment.
Smoke billowed from the structure, with photos and video taken from inside the buildings showing poor visibility from smoke-filled restaurants and stairways. According to police, around 300 people were evacuated from the roof while they waited to be saved.
Tens of thousands were also trapped inside the building. They crowded into tight areas on the fifth-floor open-air podium, looking over the edge for rescue.
The police had already concluded that the fire originated in the electrical switchroom on the 1st floor. From there, it spread to the surrounding scaffolding.
The firefighters had to use an extendable ladder in order to save the victims on the fifth floor. The local newspaper reported that other victims were trapped in mall restaurants. Local media reported that the evacuation of approximately 1,200 persons occurred from within the building.
According to police notice, the fire was elevated to level 3. The severity of fires is determined on a five-point scale. Five being the worst. Authorities declared the fire under control at 3:06 PM.
Police said that two breathing apparatus teams were deployed and that water jets were also mobilized in an effort to fight the flames.