Venue 'not seriously damaged' by fire

By Lei Lei (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-12 07:03

The fire that broke out last week at the Peking University Gymnasium, which will host the table tennis events at next year's Olympics, did not cause any major structural damage, and a pre-Games test event will go ahead as scheduled, officials said yesterday.

"The fire, which broke out on July 2, did not damage the main steel structure of the venue and had only a limited impact on the construction schedule," Wu Jingjun, chief engineer and spokesman of the Beijing 2008 project construction headquarters office, said.

Wu said the fire was caused by "improper practices" during construction, which ignited some waterproof sheeting and other construction materials.

"The fire-resistant material of the main structure did a good job in preventing more serious damage. The test event scheduled for December will go ahead as planned," he said.

The fire broke out at the gym in at about 8:14 am last Monday, and spread through an area of about 1,000 sq m. No one was injured, however, the Beijing fire brigade said.

The International Table Tennis Federation Pro-Tour Grand Finals are scheduled to be held at the venue on December 13.

The 26,900-sq-m gymnasium is one of 12 new venues being built for next year's Games. With the exception of last week's fire, the construction of each is progressing well, with several venues now almost complete.

"All the venues that will stage test events will be completed on time," Wu said. "The Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park, which will host the first test event, will be finished at the end of this month, as too will be the Beijing Shooting Range."

(China Daily 07/12/2007 page3)

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