300 trapped after fire in Hong Kong building

Around 300 people were trapped on the roof of Hong Kong’s World Trade Centre on Wednesday after a fire broke out.
Local media reported that 13 people were injured and taken to hospital, with one woman in a critical condition.
Police said the fire broke out in the machine room and moved to the scaffolding surrounding the building, which is currently under renovation.
Those trapped on the roof have now been rescued, with more than 1,200 people in total evacuated from the building.
Those who were injured are aged between 25 and 60, according to the South China Morning Post. Local media is reporting that a 60-year-old woman is in a critical condition in Ruttonjee hospital.
All the shops had been vacated during the extensive renovation works, leaving only several levels of the building in operation – mostly restaurants and offices, the South China Morning Post said.
The blaze at the 38-storey World Trade Centre on Gloucester Road was first reported at lunchtime.
Among those in the building when it caught fire was Meiling Lai, who was having lunch at a restaurant on the 12th floor when the building caught fire.
She told the BBC that the fire alarm went off about 10 minutes after smoke first appeared in the restaurant.
“We asked the wait staff what had happened and they said something caught fire on the lift shaft on the fifth floor, but they didn’t say a fire had broken out,” Ms Lai told the BBC’s Grace Tsoi.
“No alarm was heard. A staff member even said, ‘We are not leaving yet, don’t be afraid.'”
She ended up being trapped along with about 80 people on a podium on the fifth floor, she said, before the group was rescued safely by firefighters.
The former British colony became a special administrative region of China in 1997, when Britain’s 99-year lease of the New Territories, north of Hong Kong Island, expired.
Hong Kong is governed under the principle of “one country, two systems”, under which China has agreed to give the region a high degree of autonomy and to preserve its economic and social systems for 50 years from the date of the handover.
But Beijing can veto changes to the political system, and pro-democracy forces have been frustrated by what they see as the slow pace of political reform. -BBC

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