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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 is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.