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Fire breaks out in downtown Beijing with thick smoke


09:24, September 06, 2011

Photo taken on Sept. 5, 2011 shows the dense smoke rising from the scene of a fire at Zhaodengyu Road in Beijing, capital of China. Firemen have rushed to the site to put out the fire. (Xinhua/Huang Yan)

BEIJING, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- A fire broke out at an outdoor market in downtown Beijing Monday afternoon, sending up thick smoke but no casualties were reported, fire authorities said.

The fire started at about 5:15 p.m. at the Fuguoli Market in Xicheng District, burning an area of over 1,000 square meters, said an official with the city's fire department.

Witnesses said black smoke kept billowing above the market before the blaze was put out an hour later.

More than 250 firemen were mobilized to extinguish the fire, said the official.

The fire has left cracks on windows of a residential building next to the market, cutting off its power and water supply and forcing residents to evacuate, witnesses said.

"We're not allowed to go home," said a young mother, a resident of the building, who had to take her son to a nearly restaurant to have dinner.

Zhang Songrui, her six-year-old son, said he covered his nose and mouth with a wet towel while fleeing the building because that was what his kindergarten teacher taught him to do in a fire.

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