New skyscraper in London blamed for melting cars, setting fires

20_Fenchurch_Street_City_of_Londonby Pete Thomas

Tourists who will be visiting London in the near future might want to check out the city’s hottest new property: a 37-story skyscraper known at 20 Fenchurch Street, dubbed the “Walkie-Talkie Tower” because of its curved shape.

But beware: 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 and, in fact, it’s being blamed for melting cars, setting carpet ablaze, and blotching paint on buildings.

On Monday, street-level temperatures beneath this beam of light soared to 150 degrees in Eastcheap, which is the present focal point for the beam–or ground zero.

Townsfolk are seething, and a little bit frightened.

Being in the stream of 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.”

This concentrated beam of sunlight, which has been referred to as a “solar death ray,” only recently became a serious issue, as the position of the sun has changed with the changing of the season.

It’s being blamed for melting the panels of a high-end Jaguar last week (see video posted below), and more recently for damaging a van.

On Monday, according to City A.M., 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, demanding that developers fix the problem.

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