Hong Kong probes the cause of massive blaze in shopping district

Hong Kong authorities on Friday were investigating the cause of a huge blaze that broke out overnight at a construction site in a popular shopping district and forced 170 people in nearby buildings to evacuate.

No deaths or injuries 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 fire was largely extinguished by 8:30 a.m., deputy chief fire officer Keung Sai-ming said. Firefighters had battled the blaze for around nine hours.

When firefighters arrived at the scene Thursday night, flames were seen on multiple floors of the building but only temporary firefighting equipment was available, Keung said.

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