Towering inferno, Beijing style


As crowds watched, the 40 story Mandarin Oriental building burnt brightly in the night like some kind of massive candle. Thankfully un-occupied, the building was scheduled to be opened late last year but was delayed…and if you were one of the ones scheduled to move in, I’d be buying  a lotto ticket right about now. The night was coincidentally Lantern festival – celebrating the new Lunar year. People were allowed to set off fireworks until midnight and well….if you’ve got em, use em! Authorities are unsure what started the blaze – which burnt from the top down, but I would bet any amount of money that someone’s stray fireworks have hit something flammable – perhaps a nice tasty unprotected gas bottle, and the rest is history.

The Mandarin Oriental lights up the Beijing skyline

The Mandarin Oriental lights up the Beijing skyline

I have witnessed firsthand the way people in China set off fireworks. They do it with little to no consideration for the surrounding area. They set them off beside busy roadways, where smoke is cloaking the traffic, and debris falls on the cars. They do them in big crowds. In China, they just don’t think of safety. Grown adults are comparable to children in a lot of cases. Excitable and unthinking. Big boom first, oh, did i just burn that down? a distant second.

I could not think of anything worse than being stuck in a towering inferno in China. The lack of safety systems also applies to things such as evacuating. If that building was occupied, man, I dont even want to think what kind of deathtrap stampede there would have been to escape.


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