The chaos and disruption that can be caused by fires on construction sites has been highlighted by an incident that took place at a Macau hotel recently. More than 6000 workers had to be evacuated from a building under construction when a fire broke out on the roof.
The building which was being extended caught on fire around 11am when workers were already well into the day’s work. The blaze is believed to have been started by workers carrying out welding work on the roof of the building.
The Galaxy Hotel in Macau erupted in chaos as 6000 workers were evacuated after the blaze that started on the roof of the building began to spread through the 36 storey hotel.
The blaze took 40 firefighters and 9 fire engines to extinguish. Luckily no one was hurt during the blaze but there was a lot of destruction caused with construction progress being hampered and decorative materials being destroyed. The outer walls of the building could be seen blackened following the blaze.
Construction workers were evacuated from the building and allowed to return to work a few hours later.
According to initial reports, the fire broke out as workers were doing welding on the top floor which caused a giant decorative item to catch fire. The decoration which was made of fibreglass caught fire and emitted black smoke before bursting into flames.
The following excerpt explains what happened according to a representative from the Macau fire department,
He said initial investigation showed there was no damage to the interior of the building under construction.
The fire broke out on the top floor of the building at the phase two site of Galaxy Macau where construction is in progress, the Galaxy Entertainment Group confirmed.
Thankfully none of the construction workers working on the project were injured with all of them being safely evacuated from the building, however this incident could have turned out to be a tragedy if the proper evacuation procedures and safety plans were not in place, especially considering the sheer size of the project and the number of workers that were affected.
Buildings under construction or renovation are at a greater risk of catching fire due to a number of factors such as the work being undertaken including welding which presents a fire hazard. It is crucial that an evacuation plan is in place and workers are aware and trained on this plan so that they do not risk their own lives and the lives of everyone else on the site if a fire does occur.
Employers and site controllers have a responsibility to ensure that a proper emergency and evacuation plan is put in place and employees and contractors on site are aware of this plan and trained to react in an emergency situation such as a fire.