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Beijing Hotel Tower Is Destroyed by Fire

The city government blamed fireworks from Monday night’s Lunar New Year celebrations for a massive fire that engulfed a 44-story tower in the brand-new complex that also houses the iconic headquarters of China Central Television.

Flames and occasional explosions leapt high into the sky as black smoke poured from the 520-foot tower, which sits just 100 yards from the CCTV building designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, one of a series of ultramodern towers that transformed the Chinese capital’s skyline ahead of the Olympics in August.

The official Xinhua news agency quoted a Beijing government spokesman as saying an initial investigation showed the fire was caused by “illegal launches of firecrackers.” It was unclear how that was known, nor did the report explain what was illegal. In 2005, Beijing ended a ban on fireworks downtown during the New Year celebrations.

complete article @ WSJ

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