Apartment Fire Causes Saturday Morning Evacuation in Shekou
09 Sep 2017
I was woken up by smoke shortly after 8am Saturday morning September 9th. Within seconds my wife ran in with the kids in tow yelling for us to leave the apartment because there was a fire below us. We live in Building 3 (丰润阁/fengrunge) of Sea Dynasty, 海尚国际/Hai Shang Guoji in Shekou. We hit the fire alarm in the hall on our floor and immediately made our way to the stairwell.
While rushing down the stairs we encountered a lady, hysterical, clutching her laptop in her arms. She wouldn't leave and kept screaming for help. It was her apartment on fire. She didn't want to leave her apartment and belongings behind. Some of those belongings being goods she was storing for sale online; which some suspect may have been part of the cause of the fire. Just then the building's handyman ran up. My inlaws took my kids down the stairwell and out the building while my wife and I stayed behind to direct him to the apartment and tell him to hurry and shut off the gas. We then convinced the lady to exit the building with us. The floor was already full of smoke. We hit the fire alarm on other floors on the way down as no alarm bells were yet ringing. The brave handyman stayed behind to assist residents and firemen, and didn't leave until the situation was under control.
Since the alarm bells were not sounding, at 8:15am, I posted a warning message into various WeChat groups asking people to help warn anyone living in the building. This video was taken just after sending that message.
Firemen arrived on the scene at 8:20am
At 8:27am, I received this video from a friend showing the view of the fire from the Lanhong Haoyuan on HaiChang Jie.
CORRECTION: We previously reported this video was shot from Coastal Rose Garden 2.
The peak of the fire was at about 8:30am.
The Shekou Street Party Working Committee Secretary and Director Zhou Jiangtao (蛇口街道党工委书记、主任周江涛) arrived to the scene shortly after 9am and was being briefed on the situation. I later approached him and let him know my concerns about the alarms not sounding after we pulled the fire alarm. By this time though, the alarm bells were ringing.
While talking with building residents we heard from one person that he first smelled smoke at 7:30am. The only injury we saw directly related to the fire was burns on the arm of the lady residing in the apartment that caught fire.
The firemen did a great job putting our the fire quickly. By 9:30am, it seemed the fire was mostly put out. Some people on low floors were allowed to re-enter the building around 10:15am. We were allowed to enter at 11am.
Luckily, our apartment a couple of floors above the fire didn't have any visible damage aside from smoke. We couldn't get into the burned apartment as the fire department had blocked access; however, the owner of the apartment directly above the fire let us in to have a look at her damage.
At the time of publishing this article, the fire department was still investigating the cause of the fire.
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