Celtics fans watching a recent national broadcast might have been distracted from slam dunks and pick and rolls by a startling sight: what appeared to be an orange halo of flames shooting from the top of Boston’s 11th-tallest building.

Shot from the Fan Pier, the ESPN video transformed The Chiofaro Co.’s 2 International Place office tower into a 538-foot-tall birthday candle. The effect was visible in an establishing shot of the skyline as ESPN returned from a commercial break, but went unmentioned by the announcing crew.

Chiofaro Co.’s Rob Caridad said the effect has triggered some curiosity, but has a harmless explanation: it’s a byproduct of new lighting technology and winter winds. As steam escapes from the rooftop cooling tower, it’s illuminated by the programmable LED lighting at the crown of the building.

“That was a factor of the humidity that night, the temperature and the lights that happened to be a red-orange color,” Caridad said. “The flame effect is not intentional.”

Although the lighting was set to an orange hue on the night in question, it was programmed to a red-and-green pattern during the holidays. And a red-and-blue theme is likely for the Patriots’ divisional playoff game this weekend, Caridad said.

About That Unusual Skyline Shot

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min