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High-rise inferno claims 12 lives in downtown Shanghai

At least 12 people have been killed and more than 90 injured as of 7pm in a big blaze that gutted an apartment building in downtown Shanghai. The fire was brought under control after five hours of frenzied efforts to put it down.
The 28-story building at the intersection of Jiaozhou Road and Yuyao Road in Jing'an District was being renovated when it caught fire at about 2pm, local authorities said at a press conference.
Victims hung themselves out on the scaffoldings which cover the whole building for a face-lift. The scaffolds were blamed for the fast spread of the fire.
More than ten residents rushed to the roof and waved frantically at helicopters which had difficulty to land and to maneuver amid high-rises.
Most of the injured were not burned seriously but had inhaled too much smoke, said the hospital staff.
Firefighters are still trying to rescue residents trapped in the building at the time of filing this report.
Police cordoned off the area around the building and traffic on nearby roads was affected.
Influenced by the fire, people in nearby buildings were evacuated and power supply was switched off.
People in buildings a little further away can still feel the heat of the blaze as the windows became too hot to touch.
Firefighting has always troubled Shanghai, a city with about 15,000 skyscrapers. Firefighters carried engines to nearby buildings to shoot water at the burning high-rise, which is known as Teachers Apartments and houses 156 families. Many residents are retired teachers.
Ambulances also carried doctors to the site for emergency treatment. Residents were given rescue breaths on site.
The cause of the fire is so far unknown, but a witness said he saw some construction materials caught fire first and then the fire climbed up onto the scaffold.


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