Tall building in central China's Changsha city engulfed in flames

The blaze consumed a tall building that housed an office of state-owned telecommunications company China Telecom. PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM XINYAN_HUANG/TWITTER, AFP

BEIJING - A major fire broke out in a skyscraper in the central Chinese city of Changsha, local media reported on Friday. 

No casualty has been reported so far, but the blaze left the 42-storey office building badly damaged. 

“Thick smoke is spewing from the site, and several dozen floors are burning ferociously,” CCTV reported earlier in the day as firefighting was ongoing in the nearly-210m-tall high-rise building that housed an office of state-owned telecommunications company China Telecom. 

Photos released by CCTV showed orange flames searing through the skyscraper in a built-up area of the city as firefighters jetted water at its facade. 

Thick plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky could be seen from hundreds of metres away. 

“The fire appeared to have started from one of the lower floors, but the blaze spread very quickly upwards,” a passer-by who gave his name only as Mr Peng told reporters. 

“From what I saw, it looked like the fire started from outside the building,” he added. 

Videos posted on social media showed the external walls of the building charred black. 

In some clips shared online, dozens of office workers could be seen rushing to evacuate the building. 

Some 280 firefighters and 36 fire engines were deployed to the scene, and the blaze was put out by 5pm, a little more than an hour after the incident was first reported, the Hunan fire department said. 

Preliminary investigations showed that the massive blaze was started after the outer wall of the building caught fire, the department added. 

“At present, the open fire has been extinguished, and no casualties have been found,” it added. 

A China Telecom spokesperson said that communications had not been disrupted despite the incident. 

The Lotus Garden China Telecom building, completed in 2000, was once the tallest in Changsha at 218 metres, according to local media reports. 

Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, has a population of about 10 million people. AFP 

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