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September 23, 2011

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Hotel ignites after blast

Flames lit the sky and engulfed the luxury Jia Hotel last night in downtown Jing'an District following a gas pipe blast, but no one was injured.

The blast was likely triggered during a construction project when an underground gas pipe on Taixing Road near Wujiang Road was broken by the staff of the power company, said the city fire department. The detailed cause was still under investigation.

The fire broke out at 6:55pm and soon spread to the hotel. Customers and diners were evacuated before most of the six-floor building was burned.

Commuters of Metro Line 2 were shocked on their way back from work as the scene was just opposite an entrance of the Nanjing Road W. Station. Witnesses said there was a huge sound before the flames spread out and climbed to the hotel very quickly.

"I was there before the police and firefighters cordoning the scene, and the fire was big," said a Metro commuter surnamed Li. "I was standing about 20 meters away from the fire and could still feel the heat."

The flames reached the fifth floor of the hotel when the fire was at its peak, Li said.

Eight fire engines rushed to the scene and firefighters controlled the blaze in about half an hour. Balconies and most windows of the hotel were destroyed, and the flames also damaged a neighboring restaurant, police said.


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