Firefighters battle blaze in Hong Kong shopping district

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HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong firefighters battled a blaze Friday that broke out overnight at a construction site in a popular shopping district and forced around 130 people in nearby buildings to evacuate.

No casualties have been reported after the fire erupted at the Mariners’ Club redevelopment project in the densely populated Tsim Sha Tsui district at about 11 p.m. Thursday. Multiple floors of the structure — including scaffolding — were on fire, and burning debris floated in the air.

The Empire Group’s redevelopment plan was to build a 42-story architectural landmark to house the historic Mariners’ Club and a new hotel, the firm’s website said.

The site is surrounded by a shopping center, several hotels and some residential and commercial buildings. Earlier in the night, crowds of onlookers gathered on the street to watch the firefighting operation.

As dawn broke, the fire was less serious than it had been hours earlier, although flames could still be seen on multiple floors. The structure’s exterior walls were blackened and parts of its scaffolding appeared shaky.

The government said the fire was largely put out at 8:30 a.m.

People staying in three buildings close to the scene had to be evacuated, police said.

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