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UPDATE: Mandarin Oriental Beijing is Burning

February 10, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox

Reuters reports that fire consumed a building in Beijing that formed part of Central China Television's new headquarters. Before the fire abated Monday night at midnight, eyewitnesses reported seeing flames 20-30 feet high shooting out of the building. The destroyed building housed the Mandarin Oriental-Beijing hotel in eastern Beijing, which was scheduled to open in 2009. The building was also designed to include a theater, recording studios and cinemas, while CCTV's main production and broadcasting units were to occupy the main building next door.

The cause of the blaze at the 40-story Mandarin Oriental is not known, and there were no reports of injuries, according to CNN staff members who were at the scene. The fire began at about 9 p.m. (8 a.m. ET) and continued to burn an hour later.

Fire crews are on the scene and appeared to have control of the fire.

The hotel is next to a newly constructed tower for China Central Television (CCTV), but no one has moved into that building either.

The modern, angular building was a sign of Beijing's recent transformation and modernization. It had been scheduled to open late last year, but that was postponed until this year, although most of the building had been constructed.

According to its website, the Mandarin Oriental-Beijing is the flagship property in China for the Mandarin Oriental hotel chain.

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