Video Credit: AsiaWire
This footage seen more than 20 million times shows residents lifting a car and flipping it onto its side after it blocked fire engines attempting to reach a burning tower block.
The blaze reportedly spread through flammable insulation in what appears to be a repeat of the tragic Grenfell blaze in the UK on 14 June 2017. The fire in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in North Kensington caused 72 deaths, making it the deadliest structural fire in the United Kingdom since the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster and the worst UK residential fire since the Second World War.
In the Chinese blaze the 30-storey building inside the California Gardens Residential District in Yubei District, which is in south-western China’s Chongqing Municipality went up in flames on the afternoon of 1st January.
Distressing footage shows the fire rising up the side of the entire residential building, which officials say was evacuated in time, resulting in no deaths or serious injuries.
The fire began on a first-floor balcony on the block listed as A4, with the structure’s insulation and awnings being set alight as the flames rose, the fire service said.
The Chongqing Emergency Management Office said 38 fire engines and 197 firemen were sent to tackle the blaze.
Local media reported that the fire service needed to saw through metal bollards, and residents needed to flip at least one car, after vehicles were parked illegally in an emergency services lane.
With investigations still ongoing, it was still unclear at the time of writing whether the owners of the vehicles would be fined for the offences.
The California Gardens Residential District was completed in 1997 and is home to 3,848 households.
The incident has raised concerns over fire safety in tower blocks, with the hashtag ‘Chongqing California Gardens’ already viewed more than 350 million times on Weibo, which is China’s Twitter-like microblogging service.
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