At about 9pm this evening, the boot-shaped building to the north of the new CCTV Headquarters caught fire. The building is known as the Television Cultural Center (TVCC) and was to open next month. It was to house not only the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, but also a theater and cinema. The building appears to have been totally gutted by the huge blaze that engulfed it.
Authorities have still not released any details about casualties or the cause of the fire, though obviously fireworks are the prime suspect. Roads around the area along with the line 10 subway line have been closed. You can view video of the blaze here and here.
Update (7.30am): A new video that has been uploaded to Youtube, seems to shows the fire started on the roof of the building. Phoenix, however, are reporting that the fire started at 8.27pm on about the 30th floor of the 50-odd story building and then spread in both directions. They also report the first death from the fire (
unconfirmed confirmed - although The Beijing News make no mention of it in their detailed coverage of the blaze on pg - Zhang Jianyong of the Hongmiao Brigade died after being injured while fighting the fire. Other firefighters who entered the building to rescue two people stuck on the 14th floor appear to have emerged safely from the building. Seven firefighters were also sent to Chaoyang Hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.
Update II (noon): The Wall Street Journal have published a brief article with attached video and slide show, that offers an informed overview of the information available at the moment
Update III (6pm): We've created a small gallery or images taken by people at the scene of the fire. If you snapped any shots of the blaze that you'd like to share, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Links and Sources
The Beijinger Forum: CCTV Tower BURNING DOWN
Sina: Page devoted to coverage of the Fire
CNN: China: Fire engulfs 40-story luxury hotel
Youtube: Start of the Fire
Xinhua: News reporting death of Firefighter
The Wall Street Journal: Beijing Hotel Tower Is Destroyed by Fire
The Beijinger Gallery: CCTV Fire