BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- China Central Television (CCTV) itself was responsible for Monday night's massive fire that caused one death and seven injuries in its new headquarters complex in eastern Beijing, the city's fire control authorities said Tuesday.
The photo taken on Feb. 9, 2009 shows
the ablaze north wing building of the new CCTV (China Central Television)
headquarters in Beijing, capital of China. A fire broke out on Monday
night at the building, namely Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which is about
hundreds of meters away from the new CCTV main tower in east Beijing.
CCTV hired staff from a fireworks company to ignite
several hundred large festive firecrackers in an open space outside one of its
nearly-completed buildings, said Luo Yuan, spokesman and deputy chief of Beijing
Fire Control Bureau.
The 30-storey building, about 200 meters from the
iconic CCTV tower, houses the luxury Mandarin Oriental Hotel, a television
studio and an electronic data processing center.
The people who ignited the fireworks are being
questioned by police, Luo said at a press conference late Tuesday morning. He
said the fireworks company was based in the central province of Hunan, but did
not give details.
He said the fireworks they set off were much more
powerful and explosive than what was available at roadside stalls during the
Spring Festival and therefore needed approval from the municipal government
before being allowed in the downtown areas.
Policemen on patrol interfered when the explosives
were set off, but CCTV ignored their warnings, said Luo. "We have videos of the
scene and remnants of the fireworks, which will serve as strong evidence in the
CCTV's four camcorders recorded the fireworks display
and the entire ignition process, he said.
A man, who claimed to be former employee of Beijing
Urban Construction Group, said he saw people on watch on top of CCTV's main
tower with a hose when the firecrackers were set off.
"But I didn't see any on guard on top of the building
that caught fire," he told Xinhua reporters at the fire site Monday night.
Beijing Urban Construction Group is prime contractor
for the building that caught fire, while the iconic main tower, which many
locals jokingly called "the giant shorts", was contracted to another company.
Both buildings were designed by the Rotterdam-based
OMA. Total investment is about 5 billion yuan (714 million U.S. dollars).
The fire broke out at 8:27 p.m. Monday and was put
out at 2 a.m.
Xinhua reporters saw about 80 percent of the building
had been charred by Tuesday morning. No sign of damage was seen on the CCTV main
tower. It is not immediately known whether the fire would postpone the official
inauguration of the new CCTV tower, originally slated for October.
About 600 firemen worked to put out the fire. One of
them, Zhang Jianyong from the northeastern Liaoning Province, died from
respiratory tract injuries at hospital early Tuesday. He was to celebrate his
30th birthday in two weeks.
Beijing Fire Control Bureau said seven others were
injured, including six firemen and one construction worker.