Putuo District began to knock down illegal structures at 147 locations at a local packaging and printing material market yesterday over safety concerns, the district’s fire department said.
The work will continue to the end of this month.
The Shanghai International Packaging and Printing City, located on Block 1,051 on Zhennan Road, covers 85,520 square meters, with about 400 proprietors.
But many booth operators in the first floor renovated the booths to make extra room for storage and even living spaces, the fire department said, adding this raised the fire risk.
About 400 people have been living in the 147 booths affected.
Above the booths were areas originally designed for offices. But more than 50 were split into smaller rooms for residences.
Local authorities said another more than 1,000 people were living in the transformed offices and must leave.
“I just moved in last week,” said a resident surnamed Wang. “I didn’t realize the residence did not meet fire safety requirement.”
Wang shared a 15-square-meter room with two other people. The rent was 1,500 yuan a month.
The market’s property management company said notices had been put up in the market for about a month and every sub-lessor had been informed.
“But some of them did not inform the tenants for fear of losing money,” said a company worker who asked not to be identified.
Multiple agencies in Putuo joined the campaign to remove the illegal constructions and urge the proprietors to use the buildings properly. The illegal residents will be asked to leave gradually.