Fireworks and Fire

Events turned surreal tonight as amidst all the fireworks that are going off all over our fair city, a fire appeared to break out at the iconic new (and not yet totally finished) CCTV Building. In fact, the fire occurred at the equally odd shaped building just north of it, known as the TVCC complex (Television Cultural Center).

The fire appears to have started around 8:30 pm, though we first heard about it from colleagues in Guomao around 9:10 pm. After raging for an hour or so, explosions started to be heard and the flames were seen reaching many stories in the air, and the whole process came to an end around 11 pm or so. As of right now, smoke can still be seen coming from the area and some are concerned about collapse. All of subway Line 10 is closed and traffic around 3rd Ring Road is at a standstill as police are keeping people away from the building.

Today is Yuanxiaojie, the Lantern Festival, and it is the final day of Chinese New Year festivities, so its marked by lots of fireworks. Fireworks were being set off in Beijing since early in the evening an speculation is that fireworks are what started the fire. Explosions were heard around the scene, but with fireworks going on all over the 3rd Ring Rd area of the city, it was hard to differentiate at times what was coming from the building and what came from elsewhere.

If you aren't on twitter, its time to get on, as the story broke there well before it was seen anywhere else on the web, a full hour before it made it onto Chinese tv. What is there to take away from all of this? First, lets hope and pray for the safety of everyone who may have been in/around the buildings and also for the first responders. Also, be very careful when setting off fireworks in the city (though fireworks policy is bound to change next year). We'll try to bring more if anything develops through the night and especially tomorrow morning.

*Above photo by Wu Lin. All photographs and content are copyright and can only be used with approval of blog editors.

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