The wires surely have the news already, but here’s what we know at the moment. The building that was to house the 241-room Mandarin Oriental hotel next to the iconic CCTV tower is burned beyond repair, kaput, insurance fodder. I arrived at the the scene around 2140 to find a crowd of at least 200 onlookers watching the tower burn in a strangely silent and at times pyrotechnic display of sparks, debris and flame.
Speculation in the crowd was that the fire was caused by fireworks for the Lantern Festival that were lit from the top of the building, which has a chimney up top. But all of this is just wild speculation at the moment. Our first hope, of course, is that no one was caught in the fire.
The CCTV tower itself appears to be unaffected by the blaze and by the time I left the fire appeared to be under control.