We arrived in an incredibly foggy but wonderfully warm Wenzhou on a business trip Wednesday morning. On our way from the airport into the city, we were forced to make a detour and found ourselves unable to make our way to our destination because an entire area had been cordoned off. All we could see was a HUGE plume of smoke billowing out from a building which made us wonder if someone had bombed it or something. Our really nice local guide also made us feel like a jinx because “this has never ever happened before in Wenzhou”. It was not till later in the evening when we heard that the fire was on national news and some people had died. More from CNN:
The fire broke out around 8:20 a.m. in central Wenzhou city and took more than 200 firefighters and 33 fire engines to extinguish it, Xinhua reported.
At one point, the blaze trapped hundreds of residents in the building known as Wenfu Mansion.
According to witnesses, the fire started in a flower shop on the first floor and rapidly spread to an entertainment venue on the second floor, before engulfing the building in smoke.
More pictures here. Also, this Youku video featured here has some on-the-ground footage. The latter half of the clip gave us some serious goose bumps as it was an eery visual reminder to the people jumping off the World Trade Center during 911. Fortunately, everyone in the clip was able to climb to safety. 21 people did not and perished in the fire.
Addendum: In another fire in Dongguan, Guangdong, that happened on the same day, 10 people were killed.