Residents in London have been getting some nasty surprises recently when they park too close to the famous “walkie-talkie skyscraper“, which isn’t even finished with construction yet.
The 37-story building–which gets the nickname from its unique shape–is situated in just the right spot to reflect the sun in dangerous proportions at a certain time of day. One man, Martin Lindsay, learned that the hard way when he parked his Jag across the street and came back to find the side panels buckled and the side mirror and Jaguar hood ornament melted.
“You can’t believe something like this would happen,” he said. “They’ve got to do something about it. It could be dangerous. Imagine if the sun reflected on the wrong part of the body. On the windscreen, there was a note from the construction company saying ‘your car’s buckled, could you give us a call?'”
Lindsay says the building developers offered to pay for repairs, but other residents and shop owners say the problem might be more than the company can throw money at. Ali Akay of Re Style barbers says the extreme heat reflected by the slightly concave shape of the building started a small fire in the entryway of his establishment, scaring the customers.
“We were working and just saw the smoke coming out of the carpet. We tried to cut the fire down, there were customers in at the time and they were obviously not happy. Customers are not going to come in if there is a fire in the front of the door,” he said.
Other shop owners have made complaints about shattered tiles, scorched paint, and damaged foods. To prove a point, one reporter even fried an egg in the heat generated by the building.
It’s not known what the building developers plan to do about each complaint, but they have acknowledged that there is an issue and say they are working with the City of London to begin sorting out a plan for those who park in the area.
“We are aware of concerns regarding the light reflecting from 20 Fenchurch Street and are looking into the matter. As a precautionary measure, the City of London has agreed to suspend three parking bays in the area which may be affected while we investigate the situation further.”