Monday, February 9, 2009
A fire destroyed the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Beijing today. According to news accounts (here and here), the fire occurred in the final hours of the lunar new year celebration, as fireworks lit up the Beijing sky. Thankfully, the hotel was newly constructed and not yet occupied, and no injuries or deaths have been reported. But for those of us who follow mass tort litigation, the images of the fire conjure up memories of the 1986 San Juan Dupont Plaza fire and the 1980 MGM Grand Hotel fire, both of which involved numerous deaths and injuries and led to incredibly complex mass tort litigation. The Beijing hotel was part of the same complex as the new CCTV (China Central Television) tower, one of the most architecturally distinctive modernist buildings in Beijing.