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Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
December 15, 2021

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Fire at 38-storey World Trade Centre in Hong Kong as hundreds rescued from roof

Hundreds of people were left trapped on the roof of the 38-storey World Trade Centre in Hong Kong after a major fire broke out early on Wednesday afternoon.

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World Trade Centre, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong (Credit: Alamy)

The building houses offices and a shopping mall in the busy shopping and commercial district of Causeway Bay, where smoke was seen billowing from the building as firefighters battled the blaze with water jets. Extendable ladders and breathing apparatus were also seen being used.

13 people have currently been confirmed as being taken to hospital, police said. 350 people were rescued in total from the roof by firefighters using extendable ladders.

While the cause of the fire remains unclear, the South China Morning Post is said to have reported that it broke out in an electrical switch room.

The building is in a renovation process with scaffolding, which caught fire during the blaze, in place on much of the lower levels.

The fire has been classed as a level three incident, with five being the most severe. According to Reuters, the fire was extinguished at 16:30 hours.

Commenting on the incident, Fire Safety Consultant and IFSEC Global Influencer in Fire Safety, Stephen Mackenzie, commented: “The challenges of refurbishment in occupied buildings are a known fire hazard and has potential for lethal consequences.

“We have seen a deeply concerning live incident scenario play out in Hong Kong where a fire in a machine (plant) area, on lower levels spread to adjoining scaffold (according to local police reports) and potential fire containment breaches forced hundreds of occupants to evacuate and become trapped on the roof or upper levels.

“Thankfully few injuries are reported but this incident hard on the four-and-a-half-year anniversary of Grenfell is a stark reminder of the dangers of fires in occupied premises and the need for robust fire prevention, precautions and incident management.”

Further news will follow as it comes in.

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