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Black smoke from Jiuguang Department Store escalator

AN escalator in downtown Jiuguang Department Store next to the Jing'an Temple started burning this morning with thick black smoke obscuring the store's entrance and choking passers-by.

A motorcyclist surnamed Zhao told Shanghai Daily that he saw "a big cloud of black smoke" rising from the store's entrance at about 10:40am, filling the air with choking smell.

A repairman said the fire was probably caused by a burning cigarette butt that went into the system and caused a short circuit.

But a Jiuguang Department Store official denied the fire accident and claimed the escalator was shut down "only for a routine maintenance check."

During the interview, a Shanghai Daily reporter was illegally held by two guards of the store for over 30 minutes, who demanded the reporter to delete the photos he had taken of the burned escalator.

The farce ended after the guards' supervisor appeared and freed the reporter.


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