Hotel ablaze at iconic Beijing TV complexFebruary 10th, 2009 - 3:47 am ICT by IANS
Beijing, Feb 10 (DPA) A fire engulfed an unoccupied hotel tower adjacent to the new headquarters of Chinese State Television (CCTV) in Beijing, according to witnesses late Monday.
Flames from the 159-metre tall TVCC tower, which houses the recently completed Mandarin Oriental Hotel, television studios and a cultural centre, could be seen from far afield.
It was unclear initially if there were any victims, although some reports said that eight firefighters were missing.
The building, which caught fire, stands 200 metres from the iconic “twisted arch” headquarters of CCTV, recently completed and designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and German architect Ole Scheeren.
The multi-billion-dollar complex, which includes the TVCC tower as well as the television centre, is one of the flagships of the current building boom in Beijing.
The blaze started around 8.30 p.m., but was brought under control at midnight, reports said.
The cause of the blaze was not immediately known. But the capital celebrated the end of two-week festival marking the Chinese New Year with firework displays Monday evening.
One display was held directly in front of the tower. “There are crates of rockets everywhere,” said one witnesses.
The 200-room luxury hotel was used during last summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing, but was not due to be officially opened until the middle of this year.
Large chunks of concrete dislodged themselves from the tower and plunged to the ground, raising fears the building might collapse.
Police blocked nearby streets in the Chinese capital, whilst witnesses reported that the glass facade of the television centre appeared intact.
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