Firefighters battle a blaze in Hong Kong’s shopping district

Hong Kong (AFP) – Hong Kong firefighters battled a blaze that raged overnight at a construction site in a popular shopping district and forced some 130 people in nearby buildings to evacuate.

No injuries were reported after the fire broke out at the Mariners Club redevelopment project in the densely populated Tsim Sha Tsui district at around 11 p.m. Thursday. Multiple floors of the building – including the scaffolding – were engulfed in flames and burning debris flew into the air.

The company’s website said the Empire Group’s redevelopment plan was to build a 42-story architectural landmark to house the historic Mariners Club and a new hotel.

The site is surrounded by a shopping mall, several hotels, and some residential and commercial buildings. Earlier in the night, crowds of onlookers had gathered in the street to watch the extinguishing process.

As dawn broke, the fire was less serious than it had been hours earlier, although flames were still present over several floors. The outer walls of the structure were blackened and parts of the scaffolding appeared to be shaking.

The government said the fire was largely extinguished by 8:30 a.m

Police said residents of three buildings close to the scene were evacuated.

Police said six adjacent buildings, including the three buildings where the evacuation took place and the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers, were on fire, but those fires have now been extinguished.

Tsim Sha Tsui is a tourist and shopping area in Kowloon, known for its skyscrapers and a privileged view of the city’s Victoria Harbor.

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