A six-second video circulating on WeChat this past weekend showed what appeared to be a fire blazing in the upper floors of the IFC – also known as the ‘West Tower’ – a prominent landmark in Guangzhou’s Huacheng Square.
It was the second apparent fire in the city’s CBD in a week: just three days earlier, visitors to the square were alarmed when they spotted what looked to be smoke billowing from the East Tower, the newly opened Guangzhou Chow Tai Fook financial center.
Did both of Guangzhou’s highest skyscrapers catch fire in one week? Or were both instances merely fire drills, as occurred last November?
It turns out that the ‘smoke’ blowing from the towers was nothing more than high-altitude fog. When illuminated by the yellow signage of the IFC at night, the wispy white particles gave an incredibly realistic illusion of flames and drifting smoke.
Following the first scare, which brought firefighters to the East Tower on the evening of July 6, management there issued a statement explaining that the apparent smoke was simply due to the weather, and that there had been no actual fire.
“We are very grateful for the public’s attention and the rapid response of the fire units…” read the statement.
On July 9, after the West Tower appeared to light up in flames – as captured in the video below – we immediately contacted representatives at the Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou, who assured us there was no real blaze.
Watch footage of the not-so-real fire below (VPN off):
Outside of China? Watch on YouTube.
Netizens and science buffs alike have jumped to explain the phenomenon, saying that Guangzhou’s recent humidity combined with the towers’ lights in fog created a refraction effect, simulating a real fire.
[Images via Tencent News]
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