Fire at the TVCC Tower, Beijing - Caused by Fireworks


What do you get when you have illegally large fireworks set off at a construction sight in a downtown area of a large city?

Starts nice like this:

Fireworks in Beijing - Chinese New Year Eve 2009 II HD Version from Tom van Dillen on Vimeo.

And could end like this, as it did last night in Beijing:

TVCC Fire Beijing from Tom van Dillen on Vimeo.

So, I suppose fireworks in the city isn’t such a good idea, eh?

Fireworks used to be banned in the city, but a couple of years ago the city government allowed ordinary citizens to purchase their own fireworks and let them off any where and any time they pleased (yes, with some, but arguably not enough restrictions). Here are some fireworks I bought 2 years ago:

/IMG_1129.jpeg The Fireworks I bought for CNY 2007

They turned out pretty nice, but as you see, were pretty close to our apartment building:

/IMG_1168.jpeg My fireworks CNY2007, close to my apartment building. Too close!

So, imagine hundreds of thousands, or even a couple of a million(?) people setting off fireworks like these, or bigger.  And many not thinking about safety while setting them off.  I didn’t buy any this year, mostly to save some money…

Media coverage of the fire last night:

I’m not sure how international media covered the fire last night at the TVCC building within the new CCTV headquarters complex, but local media here in China barely mentioned it (last night). Maybe they didn’t know what to say yet?  I think China has yet to understand how to deliver “breaking news”, especially if it involves China. (I am no expert on media, though, so I could be wrong)

Twitter broke the story

As has happened in many other news breaking events in the past, news of this event was broken(?) through Twitter. In fact, my eyes were glued to Tweetgrid #cctvfire, because local television had nothing, nor did the popular Chinese news sites such as Sohu and Sina

International media was slow to pick up on it, yet faster than local media (from what I saw).  Here are some international media stories:  WSJ, CNN, NY Times, BBC, Reuters. Finally, today, official state media, Xinhua, has some stories.  My favorite one is where they say the fire was caused by fireworks set off by a CCTV-contracted company.  Nice work guys.  Genius - let’s burn down our own building, shall we? Lucky (?) for them, it was the hotel next door and not the “big pants” HQ.

Can’t argue with this evidence: youtube (Watch the whole thing)]

What I want to know is, how can the roof catch on fire so quickly?  Could anyone comment?

I am sure someone (or a group) will “pay” for this idiotic mistake.  As they should.  It caused at least one life (fire fighter) and many injuries.  Not to mention some insurance company a lot of dough.  What if they caused a fire in an apartment complex? Incompetence runs rampant (everywhere) and sadly this unfortunate event probably won’t teach many lessons going forward… (how many times have we seen Melamine? Is it bad taste to say it was an ugly building any way?