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A tragedy remembered, lessons learned

(Global Times)

09:40, November 15, 2011

The charred remains of 728 Jiaozhou Road remain covered in scaffolding as restoration work on the blacked concrete structure continues. Photos: Global Times

Throughout the day and into the evening smoke from the burning high-rise cast both a literal and emotional pall over the city.

A year ago today Shanghai residents watched in horror as fire engulfed the 28-storey building at 728 Jiaozhou Road in Jing'an district, destroying lives, belongings and memories gathered over a lifetime.

Some former residents, many of them retired teachers, are still reeling from grief, others have moved on, with their live while others still can't decide their next move. None escaped the emotional burden of living through Shanghai's worst fire in living memory which killed 58 and injured 71.

"We've purchased a new two-bedroom apartment in Putuo district with the compensation we received from the city government," said Lan Di. "I'm shopping for new furniture, mainly bookshelves for my husband's books. It will be nice to have a proper Chinese New Year in our own home again next year."

Lan and her retired husband Lan Fan are thankful they escaped the fire with their lives but the 62-year-old professor lost his life's work - a collection of 40,000 books and manuscripts and six computers.

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