Massive fire hits Hong Kong high-rise construction site

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HONG KONG – A construction site for a Hong Kong high-rise was engulfed in flames late on Thursday, with firefighters on the scene battling the blaze, city authorities said.

Officials said the fire broke out at 11.11pm in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, a busy shopping and tourist district on the city’s harbourfront.

No casualties had been reported early on Friday, according to the government.

Flames were first spotted near scaffolding at the top of the building, with the blaze clearly visible across the harbour and sending sparks raining down onto neighbouring streets.

Around an hour later, the fire had spread down the length of the building and was approaching street level, where hundreds of onlookers had gathered.

Large pieces of debris – apparently from the site – were visible on the ground, and an acrid smell permeated the air, an AFP reporter on the scene said.

The under-construction building was a 42-storey “harbourside icon” intended to house the historic Mariners’ Club and a new hotel, according to the website of its developer, the Empire Group.

The HK$6 billion (S$1 billion) redevelopment project was greenlit in 2019 and was originally expected to be completed in the first half of 2023, according to local media.

Empire Group did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment. AFP

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