Ceiling of Aegean Mall Collapses, Premises Evacuated

The collapse of a ceiling at the Aegean Shopping Center in northern Beijing forced the evacuation of shoppers from its premises this afternoon, eventually leading to the mall being cordoned off.

Although some details are still being determined, the collapse appears to have occurred on the mall's third floor where its children's area is located.

An unidentified eyewitness told Beijing Youth Report that the incident happened just after 2pm today as she was headed towards the mall's fifth-floor cafeteria.

"Just as I stepped on the escalator, I saw the entire ceiling of the third floor fall down," said the eyewitness. "It was a large area that included corridors of the floor as well as its stores."

Photos taken at the scene show a darkened floor covered in debris, but offer no clear explanation of what was going on.

The eyewitness said a firetruck arrived at Aegean Shopping Center as the third floor was sealed off, but the incident wasn't over yet.

"Even before we could finish eating, mall workers forced all diners to evacuate the premises due to a 'fire drill'," said the eyewitness, further explaining that everyone was forced to leave the mall, which is located in the northeast corner of Line 10 at Taiyanggong Station.

By posing as a customer, the reporter for the Beijing Youth Report found out the mall's explanation for the incident at around 5pm. "Due to a mistake made by renovators on the third floor, the ceiling there came down," said a mall customer service representative, adding that workers were taking care of the problem.

Renovators told the Beijing Youth Report that the roof came down in the area around the Hotwind store, but that it had little impact upon the children's area.

According to renovators, no one was injured in the incident.

At 6pm, the mall posted an official notice on its entrance that explained the mall was conducting a "fire evacuation drill."

At present, Aegean Shopping Center's karaoke lounge and movie theater, located on floors 5 and 6, are still open to the public.

More stories from this author here.

Twitter: @Sinopath
E-mail: charlesliu1@qq.com

Images: Beijing Youth Report

Comments

A look through this story doesn't give any specific details or explanations, but it remains an important story nonetheless. I know this to be true because ever since the story broke on Monday, they remain the only details publicly available.

In the two days since then, there have been no new developments, no new stories. The Evening Law Report, bless their hearts, has a story about the Aegean Shopping Mall that is simply a reporter going to the mall only to find out that every thing is still the same: the mall is closed, firefighters are conducting their "fire drill", the 5th and 6th floors are still open, no you can't see anything on the third floor.

I can appreciate that there are more important stories than this, but remain disappointed that no one is interested in this story. No one from the Beijing government or police or fire department has been quoted, no official stance about a ceiling falling down on the public. From the other side, there are few readers to this story compared to people getting naked outside.

And that's not the end of it. Besides few local media choosing to report on this story, many that did have since unpublished it. A peek on Weibo reveals that the Beijinger is, weirdly, one of the last remaining outlets to go with this story. 

But there's more. Just today, Chinese news media -- people who talk about news for a living -- have published new stories about the Aegean Shopping Mall. But these stories about how it is a amusement/shopping hybrid, and do not mention how its ceiling collapsed on its own shoppers.

However it was done, this story will get buried. People are going to forget. The safety of the public was threatened, and we won't know the answer. And sometimes not knowing something is what makes it so important.

Because it's rapidly disappearing from the Chinese internet, here's the "Aegean Shopping Center ceiling collapse" story by Beijing Youth Report in its original Chinese:

北京爱琴海购物中心顶棚脱落 目击者:3层顶楼全掉了

北京青年报 2017-08-07 19:29

8月7日下午,有网友发帖称,北京爱琴海购物中心“三层顶部大面积坍塌,已经关门对顾客进行遣散。”该网友称,三层是儿童区,担心有人受伤。7日下午,北青报记者联系到事发当时的目击者,她表示,当天下午两点多,她搭乘扶梯前往该购物中心5层就餐,“刚上扶梯,看到3层的顶楼整个掉下来了,面积挺大的,包括楼层的通道和品牌卖货的区域”。她表示,随后,商场对3层进行封锁,消防车也赶到现场。该目击者称,当天下午4点左右,“饭还没吃完,商场工作人员就以‘消防演习’的理由,把里面的顾客都驱散出来了。”

7日下午5时许,北青报记者以顾客身份,致电爱琴海购物中心询问此事。工作人员称,是“三层的施工人员操作不当,把顶棚给弄掉了”,并称现在已经有工人在处理。工作人员告诉北青报记者“现场没有人员受伤,发生顶棚掉落的是三楼‘热风’(商店)那片区域的,儿童区受影响不大。”问及疏散顾客一事,工作人员称,“整个区域现在安排了人员在排查(隐患)。”

下午6时,北青报记者在现场看到,爱琴海购物中心对外宣称是在进行“消防疏散演习”,并将公告张贴在玻璃门上。目前,该中心除五层的KTV和六层的电影院可以进入,购物区域已全部封闭。(北青报记者张雅实习记者刘思佳杜倩雯丁典)

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