Is Beijing Burning?

No, Beijing is not burning, but last night one of Beijing's newest buildings went up in flames….about the time I commented in the last blog post on a fire truck racing up my street.  I'm on the other side of town from where the fire was, but given it's size, that truck on Beiwa Lu could have been heading over there. 

And was it a coincidence that the building went up in flames last night, the final night for legally blowing things up in town?  Hardly.  It turns out that an illegal fireworks display put on by CCTV itself set the building alight!   Here's the story from Reuters:

An unapproved fireworks display by China's state broadcaster caused a blaze that swept through part of Central China Television's hypermodern complex in Beijing, a fire brigadeRem Koolhaas. The flames were reflected in the tower, which itself appeared to be untouched."CCTV hired staff from a fireworks company to ignite several hundred
large festive firecrackers" in an open space outside the near-completed
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, part of the CCTV tower complex, Xinhua said,
quoting a fire brigade spokesman.He said these fireworks, set off to celebrate the Lantern Festival, were "much more powerful and explosive" than those available at roadside stalls during the Chinese New Year holiday and needed approval from the municipal government."Owners of the property ignored policemen's warnings that such
fireworks were not allowed," spokesman Luo Yuan was quoted as saying. The building was part of the new CCTV complex, CCTV being 'China
Central Television," to state-owned TV network which serves as the
mouthpiece of the Party.  This new ultra-modern complex is still under
construction, and was scheduled to open later this year. spokesman said on Tuesday. CCTV apologized for the fire on its official website.

That's right, folks, they blew up their own brand new building! Something tells me that Beijing's fireworks ban will return next year. 

Here is a link to some of the best photos I've seen of the fire.