A roaring fire burst through the roof and caused mass evacuations at Google’s office in Beijing’s Zhongguancun tech district – known as China’s Silicon Valley.

The fire, which broke out at 11am local time, burned through the roof of Google’s glass-fronted office building, sending a plume of thick, black smoke into the air.

Employees inside were evacuated from the building, but allowed to return later on, tech journalist Raymond Zhong reported. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

The news came after a bomb threat led police in California to evacuate Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters. No suspicious packages were found, and the all clear was sounded late Tuesday afternoon.

It also came hours after Google’s CEO was grilled by the US House Judiciary Committee on a range of topics, including his company’s planned expansion into China. The plan, revealed earlier this year, would involve Google building a censored search engine approved by the Chinese government.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Pichai said that Google has no plans to build a censored search engine “right now,” but did not rule out the idea in the future.


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