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Lightning hits Pearl Tower

LIGHTNING struck Shanghai's landmark Oriental Pearl Tower early this morning, sparking a fire that blazed for an hour during a storm.

But the blaze didn't affect the city's TV and radio broadcasting, nor disrupt tourists later in the day.

The fire began at 0:55am with a bolt of lightning hitting the top of the TV tower in Pudong New Area's Lujiazui Financial Center, said police.

The fire burnt down the lightning rod on top of the tower but caused no casualties. The incident was still under investigation, said Pudong police.

Firemen extinguished the fire within an hour in driving rain, and experts from Shanghai Lightning Protection Center are also investigating.

The accident has aroused doubts over the tower's lack of maintenance on its lightning protection system.

An engineer who refused to disclose his name but claimed to have worked at the tower told that the lightning rod had not been checked or repaired for about 15 years.

The report said the rod could catch fire easily, according to the engineer.


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