Fire Erupts Near TV Transmission Antenna on Shanghai's Oriental Pearl Tower

A lightning strike apparently started a fire early Tuesday morning at Shanghai's landmark Oriental Pearl Tower. The New Straits Times article "Shanghai's towering landmark catches fire" said "Flames could be seen near the large television antenna at the top of the 468-meters [1535 feet] tower, but firefighters appeared to have the fire under control as of 3:30am local time."

The article said local police reported thunder before the fire. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, this report indicates lighting may have started it. There were no casualties and reports indicated no damage to the structure of the tower. New Tang Dynasty Television has video of the fire at the tower, which is located in the financial center of Shanghai and has become its landmark structure, similar to the Empire State Building in New York City. Shanghai will be hosting the 2010 World Expo from May 1 until October.

I was unable to find any information concerning transmissions the tower. Given the spectacular fire shown in the video, it is hard to believe that at least some of the stations using the tower or even the antenna itself were not damaged.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.