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Chinese New Year Fire Destroys Zhengding’s Old City Gate

Zhengding Hubei South Gate on fire

From NetEase:

Hebei Zhengding old city gate fire burns down thousand year old building

China News Service, Shijiazhuang, February 19th. Zhengding County, Hebei Province, related agency’s latest report, preliminary investigation indicate that fireworks landing on the gate was the cause of the Zhengding South Gate fire. This fire disaster cost nearly 1 million RMB, with no death or injuries reported.

The night of February 18th at 8:19pm, a fire occurred at the Zhengding South Gate completed in 2001, the fire department immediately arrived at the scene and fully engaged the fire. The fire was completely put out by 12 am that same night. This fire disaster covered an area of 400 square meters, composed of a two story wooden tower, at a loss of nearly 1 million yuan.

This China News Service reporter rushed to the scene on the same night and saw about 16-17 fire trucks participating in fighting the fire, with the fire causing the South Gate’s two story wooden structure modeled after old city gates to fall apart.

The old city of Zhengding has over 1600 years of history. Earthwork began in the Eastern Jin period, stonework in the Northern Zhou period, expanded during the Tang Dynasty into an earth-mounded city, further expanded during the Ming dynasty into a 24 li (1/2km) brick city. Today’s remaining Zhengding city walls are relics from the Ming Dynasty, 8106 meters of the city wall remains. Zhengding city’s most magnificent four gates, The Yingxu East Gate, Later changed to Huancui, The Changle South Gate, The Zhenyuan West Gate, and the Yongan North Gate. Over years of corrosion, the west and north gate already lost its former glory, the east gate was lost through construction. Today’s South Gate with 50 meters of city walls along each side was result of Zhengding County officials appealing to the people to donate old city bricks, while investing 3.99 million RMB for its reconstruction in 2001.

Zhengding Hubei South Gate in flames

Zhengding Hubei South Gate burning

Zhengding Hubei South Gate fire

Zhengding Hubei South Gate burning

Zhengding Hubei South Gate flames

Chinese firefighters battling the Zhengding Hubei South Gate fire that occurred during 2010 Chinese New Year

Comments on NetEase:

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网易广东深圳网友:

A thousand year old building burned down, only a loss of 1 million?

网易辽宁沈阳网友:

It is better to burn the Big Underpants, it is more extravagant.

网易福建网友:

When I was young, I foolishly supported playing fireworks. Now that I am 20, I extremely dislike fireworks.

网易北京网友:

Fireworks celebrating the Spring Festival is a joyous things, it is the tradition left to us from our ancestors. However, it really does pollute the environment. I think we should limit it [fireworks], especially in big cities where it should be immediately restricted. The hidden danger is too great!

网易中国手机网友:

Chinese people use fireworks to hear it crack, foreigners use it to construct guns and cannons to conquer you.

网易湖北武汉网友:

Reconstruction cost 3.9 million, how come this fire disaster only cost 1 million RMB? What happened to the other 2 million?

网易浙江台州网友:

China’s long civilization was destroyed by these scum.

网易江苏网友:

One fire burns it down, then let the common people donate money for reconstruction, the developers laugh, the corrupt officials’ wallets filled.

网易广东广州手机网友:

A replica of the old tower built in 2001, just let it burn!

网易辽宁营口网友:

Pollutes the air, creates noise, creates fire disasters, leads to injuries/death, wastes money, what’s good about it?! [fireworks]

网易安徽蚌埠网友:

The happiest must be the government officials; this time they found another way to increase GDP, Haha.

网易北京网友:

It is to make way for a proper tear down. [by developers]

网易江苏南通网友:

It is just a replica of the old, burn it and rebuild it, can add to GDP.

网易四川成都网友:

The developers did it.

Zhengding Hubei South Gate before fire
Zhengding South Gate before the fire.

First fireworks. Personals @ chinaSMACK.

Written by Joe

Joe is a documentary producer and journalist based in Shanghai

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