By Maverick Chen and John Sexton
Nearly 100 firefighters fought for two hours to extinguish a blaze at a Beijing apartment building on Thursday afternoon. [Maverick Chen and John Sexton/China.org.cn]
Nearly 100 firefighters fought for two hours to extinguish a blaze at a Beijing apartment building on Thursday afternoon. The blaze broke out on the 16th floor of an 18 storey building in Beiwa Rd next to Capital Normal University.
Five nearby five brigades rushed to the scene after receiving a 119 call just before 15.00. Altogether 13 fire engines and over 90 fire fighters were mobilized.
Journalists from China.org.cn were the first reporters at the scene. It appeared that the fire teams were having difficulty finding reliable sources of water in the street. Firefighters were prevented from entering the building by heavy smoke in the stairwell until breathing equipment arrived at around 17.00.
Firefighters rescued an elderly man and his wife from the building at around 17:20.
"The cause of the fire and the extent of the damage are still under investigation," a fire officer told china.org.cn. "So far there appear to be no casualties. Back-up teams equipped with breathing equipment have entered the building. We are continuous contact with them by walkie-talkie and cell phone, directing their actions and ensuring they avoid danger."