Fire engulfs skyscraper in China; no deaths reported

A fire engulfed a 42-story building in Changsha, central China, on Friday, with no reported casualties thus far.

Photos and videos from the city of 10 million show orange flames and a thick cloud of black smoke streaming out of the structure. According to state broadcaster CCTV, the building housed offices of one of the country’s largest telecommunications companies, China Telecom.

In a statement on Weibo, China Telecom said that the fire was extinguished by 4:30 pm Friday.

“To prevent serious danger, some equipment in the building has been switched off,” another statement read. “Right now, fixed-lined communication and mobile internet service can be accessed as normal, although the voice function in some mobile phones may be affected. This is being handled urgently.”

Accidental fires are not uncommon in China, where building codes are not enforced and construction regularly occurs without authorization, the AFP reported.

In July last year, a warehouse fire in the northeastern province of Jilin killed at least 15 people and injured at least 25, according to the AFP, citing state media. In June of the same year, a fire at a martial arts school in Henan province killed 18 people, mostly children.

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