The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Novel Coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Scientists have mapped the genomic sequence of the virus but are still researching the source of the virus.
In light of the health emergency, social media is filled with several false narratives claiming to have found the source and cure to destroy the coronavirus, which is creating panic among the citizens of different countries.
A video of a building engulfed in flames and a man falling down from the balcony is going viral on social media claiming that people infected with Coronavirus have been locked down in the building and that the fire department helped the residents escape. The post comes along with hashtags such as #CoronavirusWuhan #CoronavirusOutbreak. Wuhan, the Chinese city is known to be the epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak. The tweet mentions “A man falling down from the balcony… people are locked up in their homes. The fire department helped them escape. Coronavirus”
Several twitter users have commented claiming that the Chinese government is burning down people infected with Coronavirus.
We started are investigation by using Google reverse image search on the key frames provided to us by InVid Tool. The results led us to a Chinese website called new.qq which mentioned that this video has gone viral claiming that the fire was caused due to alcohol disinfection. However, the article clearly mentioned that this is just a rumor and that there has been no confirmation of the real cause of the incident. According to the article, “The fire broke out at a resident’s home on the 5th floor, No. 19, Taopu No. 4 Village, Putuo.”
Next, taking a cue from the above website we searched on relevant keywords on Sina Weibo, which is a Chinese Micro blogging site. We found a clarification post on 12 February 2020 by the verified Weibo account of Shanghai Fire Fighting claiming (Translated by Google) “The incident took place in Taopu Fourth Village. The rumors about the cause of the fire being alcohol disinfectant is false. According to the parties, there was no alcohol at home. The cause of fire is still under investigation.”
Next we ran a Chinese keyword search on Weibo to find the cause of the fire. We found that Shanghai Fire Fighting issued another clarification on the 13th February 2020 stating that the fire preliminarily determined to be caused by electrical line failures. According to the article, a fire broke out in Room 501, No. 19, Lane 51, Lvyang Road, Taopu Town, Putuo District, and a failure of the electrical wiring in the living room caused the fire.”
We also found a Weibo verified news portal– KNews describing the incident. According to the post it mentions “A man caught fire and climbed out of the window on the 5th floor. The man pulled a clothesline and was rescued on the 3rd floor.] At noon on the 12th, a fire broke out in a private house in Taopu Fourth Village, Putuo District, Shanghai. On the air conditioner, it fell onto the canopy on the fourth floor and slid to the third floor.”
The post comes with a video of the residents in the building as witnesses describing the incident of how the man saved himself by climbing out of the window after the fire. Witnesses said: “The drying racks were bent, he slipped down in a panic, jumped to the window sill on the third floor, he then grabbed the pipe of the air conditioner and then the residents on the third floor pulled him in. Fortunately, the man was not in trouble. He was provided medical treatment after the incident.”
We found several other news reports, which can be accessed below that which have dismissed the fact that the fire was caused by an alcohol based disinfectant. None of the news articles mentioned anything about anybody being infected by Coronavirus.
|Sina News||Archive Link|
Conclusion- Fact Crescendo found the above post to be False. The fire was caused due to an electrical wiring failure. This video is not related to Coronavirus or COVID-19. There was no mention of the residents being infected by Coronavirus anywhere. This video is not from Wuhan district of China but from Taopu Town in a district called Putuo in China.
Title:This video has no relation with Coronavirus.Fact Check By: Aavya Ray