By Sandra Birungi
A skyscraper in London has been blamed for setting off fires and melting cars.
The building is a 37-story skyscraper known at 20 Fenchurch Street, dubbed the “Walkie-Talkie Tower” because of its curved shape. According to reports, when the sun reaches a certain position in the sky and hits the tower at a particular angle, the reflected beam of sunlight is intense melting cars, setting carpet ablaze, and blotching paint on buildings.
Being in the line of the light was “like walking through a wall of heat,” James Graham, a consultant at Hydrogen Group Plc (HYDG), a recruiting firm located near the building, told Bloomberg. “I hope it hasn’t damaged my eyes.” Joint developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group said Monday in a statement: “We are taking the issue of light reflecting from 20 Fenchurch Street very seriously and are looking into the matter as a priority.”
The heat became a serious issue after the position of the sun changed with the changing of the season. The concentrated beam was blamed for melting the panels of a high-end Jaguar last week, and more recently for damaging a van. On Monday, the beam set the carpet of an Eastcheap barber shop on fire. “Even the wood [of the door] is burning, and all of our product is melting—it’s not safe,” employee Ali Akay said.
Tony Nggy of the nearby Viet Cafe said the beam is blotching paint on the front of his restaurant, and forcing him to close the curtains during daylight hours. An investigation was launched by developers seeking ways to solve the problem which could include resurfacing the windows with a material that diffuses light.
The City of London, has suspended parking operations in three areas that might be affected by the beam.