Thursday Morning – Do You Keep Up On Your Pre-Planning?
File this one under the "Know Your First-Due" category. Most fire departments are diligent about keeping up on what's going on in their service territory, including just getting out and riding the streets for a good look-see at what's going on.
But some places are inexcusably derelict in staying on top of changes and arising hazards, so you can imagine what kind of surprise the local firehouse in Beijing, China, might have had if they hade been dispatched to, say, a brush fire on the top of a particular, luxury high-rise apartment building.
Let me back up a minute and explain that official corruption (as you probably already know) in China is way out of hand and the wealthiest people in the country find that they can do anything, disregarding any laws or safety regulations, just by greasing a few palms.
That was apparently the case of a super-millionaire doctor who runs a chain of medical clinics and owns the top floor penthouse on this 26-story building we're focusing on today. The Associated Press reported recently:
A medicine mogul spent six years building his own private mountain peak and luxury villa atop a high-rise apartment block in China's capital, earning the unofficial title of "most outrageous illegal structure." Now, authorities are giving him 15 days to tear it down.
The craggy complex of rooms, rocks, trees and bushes looming over the 26-story building looks like something built into a seaside cliff, and has become the latest symbol of disregard for the law among the rich as well as the rampant practice of building illegal additions.
Angry neighbors say they've complained for years that the unauthorized, 800-square-meter (8,600-sq. feet) mansion and its attached landscaping was damaging the building's structural integrity and its pipe system, but that local authorities failed to crack down. They've also complained about loud, late-night parties.
"They've been renovating for years. They normally do it at night," said a resident on the building's 25th floor, who added that any attempts to reason with the owner were met with indifference. "He was very arrogant. He could care less about my complaints," said the neighbor, who declined to give his name to avoid repercussions.
The city officials only responded to these complaints after a major newspaper splashed the photos on page 1 with lots of associated screaming and outrage. Firegeezer predicts that 15 days will come and go with no progress made in corrective demolition. But the code officials will no doubt be making some bonus deposits in their bank accounts.
The AP continues:
Demand for property remains high, however, and the rooftop extralegal mansion construction is far from unique. A developer in the central city of Hengyang recently got into hot water over an illegally built complex of 25 villas on top of a shopping center. He later won permission to keep the villas intact as long as they weren't sold to others.
So when you get out on the streets, don't just look around. Look up, too.
Now let's look over our own equipment and get it checked out for today. I have the proper papers for coffee production, so I'll fire up the Bunn-O-Matic. See you back in the day room in a little while.
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