China Detains Building Chief in TV Complex Blaze

The axe has begun to fall for Monday’s fire at the CCTV headquarters. From the New York Times:

The police detained 12 people, including the chief of construction for the new headquarters of China Central Television, or CCTV, and eight employees of the firm the broadcaster hired to put on an illegal fireworks show that the authorities said ignited the blaze.

The fire gutted a nearly completed 520-foot futuristic skyscraper that was part of CCTV’s new $1.1 billion headquarters, sometimes described as an architectural symbol of China’s rising power. One firefighter died and seven other people were injured.

Many questions remain about the fire, including how fireworks could have ignited such an inferno and why the flames seemed to spread unchecked through a modern tower, designed by a world renowned architect, that would presumably be outfitted with state-of-the-art fire retardant systems.

See also “CCTV official detained over massive fire” and, earlier, “CCTV site manager questioned about fire” from Xinhua. An audio report of the latter Xinhua article, via China Daily, is here.

To see how Chinese bloggers are reacting to news of the fire, see here, here, and here, via CDT.

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