SHANGHAI—On the afternoon of August 14, the partially constructed Shanghai World Financial Center caught on fire. The casualty count is currently unknown. At its scheduled completion in 2008, the Shanghai World Financial Center was supposed to be the tallest building in China, surpassing the Jin Mao Tower.
According to an eyewitness, the building caught fire around 4:35 p.m., and floors above the 40thfloor were shrouded with dark smoke. The fire was fierce, burning debris fell from the building. Many people fled the building in panic.
According to Mr. Deng, a local resident, floors above the 30th floor were engulfed in thick layers of smoke, while the top of the building was also smoking.
Mr. Yuan, another local, said that many passersby looked on and took photos. He explained that normally, no one is allowed to take photos of building under construction. A few months ago, a reporter attempting to photograph the building was severely beaten, Yuan added.
A Shanghai World Financial Center staff member, who requested to remain anonymous, disclosed that the building caught fire around 4:00 p.m. He said the cause of the fire has not been completely verified. As far as he knew, there were no causalities.
The staff refused to disclose details about the severity of the fire, its duration and the damages to the construction. He said, "Our spokesperson is in Tokyo. Please call Tokyo, because all the details about the fire will be released from there."
According to a staff member from the Lujiazui Police Station, a branch of Shanghai's Pudong Public Security Bureau, the fire was put out near 6:00 p.m., and there was no injuries or deaths. As for the cause of fire, the staff claimed, "A construction worker accidentally started a fire when he was using a welder."
Regarding details about damages to the building, the staff said, "Wait for our official news release. We will give out an unified report based on the news release."
The Shanghai World Financial Center, though still under construction, is alleged to have already surpassed Jin Mao Tower as the tallest building in China, standing 492 meters in height.
According to construction plans, its roof will be completed in September 2007, and the entire project will be finished in the spring of 2008, making it the second tallest building in the world. The tallest building is currently Taipei 101, which stands 509 meters tall.