MO Statement: We can confirm that the fire at the construction site of Mandarin Oriental, Beijing, which was scheduled to open in the second half of 2009, has been extinguished.
CCTV, the developers of the hotel, has placed the following statement on their website:
"Beijing Fire Control Bureau says CCTV staff responsible for the construction of the new TV complex, hired staff to ignite large festive firecrackers outside the building, and caused the fire. The move did not receive approval from related authorities. The fire has caused severe damage. CCTV sincerely apologizes for the damage that the fire caused, and the inconvenience it has brought to the public."
All 64 Mandarin Oriental employees, who are located at an offsite pre-opening office, are safe.
It has been confirmed that a fireman has lost his life and our sympathy is with his family. We would like to express our appreciation to everyone who has conveyed their concern about this sad incident.
It is too early at the present stage to assess the full extent of the damage. We understand that a full investigation is underway and will take time to complete.
Mandarin Oriental has signed a long term contract to manage the hotel and has no ownership interest in the building.