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August 19, 2011

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Escalator fire pours out smoke by Jing'an Temple

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

The escalator is a major route for commuters as it sits at the store's entrance and takes passengers to the Metro Line 2 station underground. No one was hurt in the fire.

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

"At first I thought the Jing'an Temple was on fire as the black smoke was hovering above it," said Zhao. "Later I saw some people rushing out of the department store and then I was choked by the stinky smell."

Another witness surnamed Wang, a sanitation worker, said he saw members of the store's staff put out the fire with fire extinguishers shortly after the smoke arouse.

The escalator area was cordoned off by repairmen who were busy removing some stairs, which were burned black, leaving big holes on the escalator.

Meanwhile, department store officials who clearly feared negative publicity denied that a fire even took place, claiming instead that the escalator merely was shut down for a routine check.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.


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