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Shanghai: fire damages old protected building
2006-10-10 00:11:18 Xinhua English

The roof of a French style building on Fuxing Road M. was damaged in a fire on Sunday night. The 75-year old Clements Apartment was listed as a protected historical building in 1994. (Photo: Shanghai Daily)

Photo Gallery>>>BEIJING, Oct. 10 --Afire raced through a more than 75-year-old protected building in Luwan District of Shanghai late Sunday night, causing severe damage but no injuries.

A primary investigation suggests faulty wiring in a third floor apartment started the blaze at the Clements Apartment on Fuxing Road M. at 11:30 pm on Sunday.

About 30 families were forced to flee the building.

The apartments were completed in 1929 by a Belgian man who rented the space out to expatriates in Shanghai during the city's early heydays. The apartments are now home to local and foreign tenants.

"I first smelt something burning outside and noticed there were flames out of the window," a female resident surnamed Zhang recalled. "I approached the window and saw the building opposite mine was on fire."

Firemen responded quickly to the blaze, but didn't extinguish the flames until almost two hours after it began.

The building, along with four similar French style buildings, was listed as a protected piece of architecture by the city government in 1994.

Residents said the building, which is made of brick and concrete, was in a bad state of repair before the fire began. While exterior walls had been renovated, the wiring in the building hadn't been updated since it was first installed more than seven decades ago, they said.

Authorities weren't sure yesterday how expensive the fire will prove to be, but residents of the building say the exterior, especially on the third and fourth floors, was badly damaged.

(Source: Shanghai Daily)

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