Firefighters battle blaze at Hong Kong high-rise building site

The fire started at the top of the 42-storey skyscraper, which was close to completion, and engulfed the scaffolding.

A 42 storey high rise building on fire in Kowloon, Hong Kong. There are orange flames, embers floating in the night sky and smoke. There are other skyscrapers nearby
The fire broke out before midnight in the densely populated Kowloon district [Peter Parks/AFP]

Firefighters in Hong Kong are battling a huge blaze at a high-rise building under construction in the Kowloon district, which has forced the evacuation of some nearby apartment blocks.

Officials said the fire broke out at 11:11pm (15:11 GMT) on Thursday in the heart of densely-populated Tsim Sha Tsui, a popular shopping and tourist district next to the harbour.

It eventually escalated to the fourth level of severity on a five-point scale and about 130 people living in three buildings nearby were evacuated early on Friday amid concerns the fire might spread.

Multiple floors of the structure – including scaffolding – were on fire and burning debris floated in the air. Some fell to the ground.

By about 8am (00:00 GMT), the government said that while the fire was under control, crews were still battling the blaze.

A crowd of people gathered behind a cordon to watch the fire. A woman at the front has her hand over her mouth and looks shocked
The fire in Tsim Sha Tsui attracted dozens of onlookers [Louise Delmotte/AP Photo]

Police said six adjacent buildings, including the three where the evacuation took place and the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers, also caught fire, but the blazes were extinguished. No casualties were reported.

The fire, which was clearly visible across the harbour in the night sky, attracted crowds of onlookers.

The 42-storey skyscraper that caught fire was close to completion and part of a 6 billion Hong Kong dollar ($764 million) redevelopment project by the developer Empire Group.

Source: News Agencies