Three people have been found dead after a huge fire broke out at an unfinished research facility belonging to tech giant Huawei in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan, according to local authorities.
The government said it had launched an investigation after Friday’s blaze at the building under construction in the Songshan Lake industrial development zone sent massive plumes of smoke into the sky.
The fire had started at a building where Huawei is developing a research base, the city government said, initially adding that all construction workers had been evacuated.
However in a statement later Friday, the government said a “thorough search by firefighters afterwards found three people dead inside the building”.
They were identified as employees of the industrial park management company, the government said.
The blaze was extinguished after 140 firefighters were called in to tackle the inferno, the local fire brigade said in a separate statement.
Footage broadcast by state media channel CCTV showed dark clouds of smoke billowing out of a blue and white building.
Pictures on social media overnight from the state broadcaster showed the blackened building surrounded by fire engines.
Huawei said the building was a “steel structure, and has not yet been put to use”, in a statement on the city administration’s official social media account.
Huawei’s main office campus is in the southern city of Shenzhen, but it has a large sprawling office complex in nearby Dongguan.
Lieutenant Silva’s face is grim as he watches his firefighters try — and fail — to control one of the thousands of wildfires ravaging Brazil’s Pantanal, the world’s biggest tropical wetlands.
“It needs to rain. We’ve got low moisture, intense heat. With that combination, rain is our only hope,” says Silva, even as new flames break out at the spot his team of six firefighters is trying to douse on the grounds of an ecotourism hotel in the northern Pantanal.
Even when the fire looks to be out, embers continue burning underground, feeding on layers of dry leaves that have accumulated amid the region’s worst drought in nearly five decades.
The firefighters advance about 60 meters (yards) into a dense patch of charred scrubland, but the hoses connected to their truck can reach no farther.
One starts using a leaf blower to clear away the dead vegetation, which momentarily extinguishes the flames on the surface.
But the slightest gust of wind is enough to reignite them.
Silva decides to retreat and change tactics: better to create a fire break by soaking the ground around the truck in water.
The firefighters hope that will prevent the flames from reaching the other side, where there is a still intact hill of native vegetation inhabited by jaguars.
The Pantanal sits at the southern edge of the Amazon rainforest, stretching from Brazil into Bolivia and Paraguay.
The region is known for its lush landscapes and biodiversity.
But this year, some 23,500 square kilometers (9,000 square miles) of the wetlands have gone up in smoke — nearly 12 percent of the Pantanal.
Helped by local volunteers, firefighters are racing to control the flames before they destroy the area’s hotels and numerous wooden bridges, essential infrastructure for getting in and out of a region normally covered in water this time of year.
Hotel worker Antonio da Silva is one of the volunteers helping safeguard the bridges, wearing a cowboy hat and face mask.
“I’m from this region, I’ve lived in the Pantanal for 60 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he says
Over 5,000 smart card readers are said to have been destroyed in the fire that engulfed the head office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akure, Thursday.
Confirming this on Friday, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in the state, Amb. Rufus Akeju told newsmen that the inferno started at about 7:30pm after the office had been closed for the day.
According to him, 5,141 smart card readers were destroyed in the fire.
Mr Akeju stressed that things could have been worse, had it not been for the timely intervention of the men of the Ondo State Fire Service, Federal Fire Service, and fire service officials from Ilesa, Osun State.
At the time of reporting, the actual cause of the fire is yet unknown, but the REC assured that appropriate agencies are already investigating the incident.
The Commissioner also stated that the incident will not affect the coming election in the state, stressing that necessary arrangements are being put in place to replace the burnt materials.
The fire outbreak on Thursday comes only a few weeks to the October 10 governorship election in the state.
INEC’s Commissioner in charge of Information and Voters Education, Festus Okoye, told journalists at the scene of the incident that the fire affected the Information and Communication Technology section of the Commission.
Speaking further on the damaged materials, Mr Okoye revealed that about 1000 card readers delivered to INEC from Osun State were caught up in the flames alongside over 4000 card readers belonging to INEC in Ondo State.
He, however, assured that the inferno will not lead to the postponement of the polls.
At least 49 shops, four residential houses and two motorcycles have been razed down by fire at Lambata in Gurara local government area of Niger State, following a tanker explosion in the area.
The explosion occurred at the late hour of Sunday after a tanker laden with petrol collided with a tanker.
The tanker driver who was on his way from Suleja axis of the road was said to have lost control and rammed into the trailer which was Minna and heading towards Suleja.
The collision led to an explosion, which affected the shops and the residential houses by the roadside.
Goods worth millions of Naira have also been burnt to ashes.
One of the affected persons, Julian Aluko, a widow with six children said she lost all her goods and wonders how she will be able to cope with her children.
“I couldn’t pick anything from my shop. Not even a pin. I have six children and now I just don’t know how I train them. My husband has died, and since then it is from the shop that I train my children,” Aluko said.
Another trader, Friday Amaechi whose four shops were completely razed down lamented about his losses, describing it as an eternal scar on him that he would never heal from till his death.
“My four shops that I have laboured for years have all gone. I am short of words. I don’t know where to go. I am owing many people credit. Because I collected the goods on credit,” he said.
Chairman of Gurara local government area, Yusuf Wali blamed the incident on the recklessness of tanker drivers who also park their vehicles indiscriminately by the roadside.
He said despite efforts to stop the ugly situation, the tanker drivers have refused to heed to the directive.
On the scene to access the level of damage were officials of both the State Emergency Management Agency led by the Director-General, Ahmed Inga and the National Emergency Management Agency.
Mr Inga said, “The Governor has directed that we carry out an assessment of the situation, and that is what we have done. No life has been lost, but two trucks, two motorcycles, 49 shops and four residential apartments with sixteen rooms have been burnt down. It is really unfortunate what has happened, but we believe the state government will come to their aid. In the meantime, I urge the victims to remain calm.”
This is not the first time such an incident will occur at Lambata. In 2004 when a tanker caught fire, at least three persons were killed.
The state government in recent time had issued a directive warning tanker drivers against indiscriminate parking of their vehicles. But not much has been done in enforcing the directive as the trend has continued.
Tragedy struck in Lagos State on Wednesday when fire gutted a branch of Access Bank on Ademola Adetokunbo Street in Victoria Island.
Although the cause of the incident has yet to be ascertained, unconfirmed reports say a fuel tanker laden with presumably diesel was at the premises of the bank to discharge its product.
But speaking to Channels Television via the telephone, the Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Femi Osanyitolu confirmed that a fuel tanker laden with diesel was at the premises of the bank discharging its content.
In the process, the pumping machine exploded igniting a massive fire, which soon spread to a neighbouring building.
Meanwhile, a combined team of emergency services and firefighters arrived at the scene to battle the blaze and prevent it from spreading to other buildings in the area.
A fire at the office of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency in Oshodi on Friday razed 10 cars and a trailer.
The fire started at a section of the agency’s premises where impounded vehicles were kept but its cause could not be ascertained by witnesses.
After emergency service officials battled and put out the fire, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) revealed that no life was lost as a result of the fire.
“A total number of ten cars and one trailer were razed by the inferno,” the LASEMA Director-General, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said in a statement.
“No casualties were recorded at the scene as the LRT Fire Unit and LASG Fire Service were all responders at the scene who successfully worked together to put out the fire”.
A short clip shared on Twitter by the agency gave an insight into the effort made by emergency workers to put out the fire and a peek into the damage it did.
LASEMA, Responders, battled LASTMA Office Fire outbreak
Upon the arrival of LASEMA Response Team, Eagle Squad at Cappa Oshodi at the scene of a fire outbreak at LASTMA Office, Oshodi, today, 14th August, 2020, it was revealed that the fire started from the compound where pic.twitter.com/zZPvfWuLsT
LASTMA, which is responsible for traffic management in Lagos, had not put out any official reaction on its platforms as of the time of filing this report and it remains unclear how the agencies will deal with the damage done and if all the vehicles were impounded.
“The agency received distress calls to the 767/112 and responded to a report on the above. Upon arrival at the scene of the incident, it was discovered that a mattress shop was the initial source of the fire.
“The flames subsequently escalated to other closely adjoining shops and the joint responders led by the Agency DG/CEO, Nigeria Police, LASG fire, LRU fire, LNSC worked together to curtail the inferno from escalating to more adjoining buildings.
“There have been severe operational challenges due to huge crowds who have failed to comply with authorities and maintain appropriate distance for responders to work freely,” the statement partly read.
Although the statement did not state whether there was any loss of human life following the fire outbreak, Channels Television learnt properties were lost.
A volunteer church assistant has confessed to setting the fire that severely damaged a Gothic cathedral in Nantes, western France, his lawyer said Sunday.
The 39-year-old, an asylum-seeker from Rwanda who has lived in France for several years, was arrested Saturday after laboratory analysis determined that arson was the likely cause of the blaze, the local prosecutor’s office said.
“My client has cooperated,” lawyer Quentin Chabert told the Presse-Ocean newspaper, without elaborating on motives for attempting to burn down the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
“He bitterly regrets his actions… My client is consumed with remorse,” Chabert said.
Prosecutors opened an arson inquiry after the early morning fire on July 18 after finding that it broke out in three different places in the church, which the volunteer had locked up the night before.
He was taken in for questioning the next day but later released without charge, with the cathedral’s rector saying “I trust him like I trust all the helpers.”
But Nantes prosecutor Pierre Sennes said in a statement Saturday that he had been charged with “destruction and damage by fire,” and faces up to 10 years in prison and 150,000 euros ($175,000) in fines.
“He admitted during his first appearance for questioning before the investigating judge that he set three fires in the cathedral: at the main organ, the smaller organ, and the electrical panel,” Sennes told Presse-Ocean on Sunday.
‘Stone by stone’
The blaze came 15 months after the devastating fire at the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, which raised questions about the security risks for other historic churches across France.
While firefighters were able to contain the Nantes blaze after just two hours and save its main structure, the famed organ, which dated from 1621 and had survived the French Revolution and World War II bombardment, was destroyed.
Also lost were priceless artefacts and paintings, including a work by the 19th-century artist Hippolyte Flandrin and stained glass windows that contained remnants of 16th-century glass.
Work on the cathedral began in 1434 and continued over the following centuries until 1891.
It had already been damaged by a more serious fire in 1972 when officials added concrete reinforcements while redoing the roof over the next 13 years.
The French government has said it will ensure the cathedral’s restoration, though very few if any, elements of the main organ are likely to be saved, said Philippe Charron, head of the regional DRAC state heritage agency.
“It will take several weeks to secure the site… and several months of inspections that will be carried out stone by stone,” he said.
Traders at the Marian market in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital are counting their losses following a fire disaster that occurred at about 8:00 pm on Friday, destroying several shops stocked with goods.
Some eyewitnesses told Channels Television that, while the number of shops destroyed cannot be ascertained at the moment, the losses could be running into millions.
According to them, the inferno was a result of high voltage power which resulted in sparks and the eventual fire which was out of control.
Shop owners have, therefore, called on both the Federal and State government and well meaning Nigerians to come to their aid.
A section of the popular Oba Market in Edo State has been gutted by fire.
Some traders said the inferno started at midnight on Monday and destroyed goods worth millions of naira at the market in Benin City, the state capital.
The Zone K of the Federal Fire Service also confirmed the incident in a tweet.
It noted that the inferno was put out by firefighters who were supported by operatives of the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force, among others.
At about 1:00hrs this morning Men of Federal Fire Service Zone K Edo command turned out to combat a raging inferno at Oba market ring road Benin city Edo State. In attendance are Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air force, NPDC and Uniben fire service.@Fedfireng@ConnectEDOpic.twitter.com/XxqhweA2QB