Monday, November 15, 2010

Deadly high-rise fire in central Shanghai’s Jing’an district

I did actually pay attention to the sound of fire trucks after fire trucks hitting the highways outside my window this afternoon. However, it wasn’t until I read the news that I realized the severity of it all: a deadly high-rise fire in central Shanghai’s Jing’an district: a 28-storey building burning like a torch leaving at least 42 people dead and 100 injured.

In a city that has more than 15 000 skyscrapers one would hope that the fire-fighters were prepared for handling high-rise storey fires, but apparently not –it took them more than 5 hours to put it out. One of the reasons is said to be the huge crowd that gathered around the building to watch.

I just watched the news on CBN (China Business News) where they interviewed a safety expert surnamed Wang saying things like “the design/architecture of our skyscrapers must change” and where he also said that it was a pity that a lot of people took to the roof during this fire.

I think there will be a lot more like this for the next couple of days, fire experts claiming the city needs to be more ready to handle difficult fires like this one, but also maybe (and hopefully) reinforcing some safety measurements to make things better (I am, for instance curious to find out how the fire started –if it’s a cigarette I’m going to hunt those people that smoke in the emergency exit in my work building –and yes, my office is on the 15th floor!).

Anyway, what has happened is awful, and my heart goes out to all the 158 families that were living in this building, that went by the nickname “the teacher’s building” as there apparently were a lot of retired teachers living there.


Unknown said...

I imagine the heavy traffic is another problem. Are water sprinklers required in high rise buildings in Shanghai? Do you have sprinklers in your office?

Anonymous said...

When I first traveled to China, I was concerned about the many fire hazards with the high-rises. I told my Chinese friends of the big fire in Chicago in the early 1900s that killed many workers and resulted in mandatory safety measures for high-rise buildings, which the Chinese should adopt. All anyone ever told me was, "You have to die sooner or later."