Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Someone's in Trouble

The fire at the China Central Television (CCTV) complex on the East Third Ring Road was the talk of the town today.

Everyone was talking about it in the office, watching videos posted on people's blogs or looking at pictures of the fire that devastated an almost completed Mandarin Oriental hotel.

Today it's a blackened skeleton of itself that has to be torn down, wasting billions of yuan designing and building it.

The culprit?

CCTV themselves.

Apparently some bigwigs decided to set off some fireworks, but not just the ones you get at roadside stands, but those leftover from the Beijing Olympics to create a big bang.

They hired a company from Henan Province to set them off for them.

And as some videos show, like this one, the sparks from the fireworks set the roof of the building on fire.

They probably didn't notice what was going on and continued to set more fireworks off until the building quickly burst into flames and soon after engulfed the entire building.

Fire crews were pretty much helpless in trying to control the fire that started from the top down, limited by their ladders and water hoses.

It took them some five hours to finally put out the blaze but it also led to the death of one firefighter who suffered respiratory track injuries and injured six others and a construction worker.

What is also interesting is that because these fireworks were more powerful than the cheapie ones people could get on the street, the owners (CCTV) should have gotten a license to set them off and didn't listen to police either when they were setting them off.

So... what else can CCTV do except apologise for its actions, saying it was deeply grieved "for the severe damage caused to the country's property".

And they damn well should. After all, it's the taxpayers' money as well as the hard work of migrant workers helping China accumulate so much in US dollars that is paying for the some 5 billion RMB ($731 million) complex.

Now it's all gone in a puff of smoke.

Perhaps the charred remains should be a monument teaching everyone not to play with fire...


ChopSuey said...

The fire is front page news here and in the US. The apology made the fold on the NY Times!
Quite stupid and a testament to the bullying that happens with bigwigs here (North America) and there (China).
Here's hoping that something good transpires from all this.

ks said...

i cant imagine some people are so naive and stupid. those bigwigs at cctv have a lot of explanations to give. there should be tighter laws foe fireworks. hope the chinese government will learn from this mishap.