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Hong Kong skyscraper catches fire while under construction

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Hong Kong’s firefighters are fighting a huge blaze in a skyscraper, which is still under construction, in the Kowloon district.

Officials confirmed that the fire, which has caused the evacuation of some nearby apartment blocks, started at 11:11pm (10.11am EST) in Tsim Sha Tsui, which is a popular shopping district and tourist area close to the harbor.

Several floors of the building, including the scaffolding, set on fire and caused debris to float in the air and fall to the ground.  The fire reached the fourth point of severity on a five-point scale.

By about 8am (7pm EST) government officials confirmed that although the fire was under control, firefighters remained on scene and continued to fight the blaze.

Police confirmed that there were no casualties as a result of the fire.

A French business traveler who passed by the building said he saw “lots of debris falling” from the tower. “It’s truly an apocalyptic scene… Really very, very scary for everyone”, he told AFP

According to the website of the building’s developer, The Empire Group, standing at 42-storeys high, the building will be a “harborside icon.”

The HK$6 billion ($764 million) redevelopment project was given the go-ahead in 2019 and was originally expected to be completed in the first half of 2023, according to local media. 

Empire Group has not responded to any requests for comment from AFP.

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