A huge fire has broken out at a luxury hotel in central London a week after the completion of “the most extensive restoration in its 115-year history”.
Plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the five-star Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge after firefighters were called just before 16:00.About 120 firefighters and 20 engines have been sent to the scene in William Street, London Fire Brigade said. The cause of the fire is not yet known, a spokesperson confirmed. Both the ambulance service and the Met Police are also attending the scene, although there are no reports of any injuries, the fire service said.
After the blaze broke out, staff were evacuated from the 12-storey building to Hyde Park, where they given bottles of water.
One, who asked not to be named, said: “The fire alarm started and everybody was told to get outside.
“Everything’s fine but we don’t know how it started yet.”
Dozens of witnesses were in Knightsbridge, home to the Harrods department store, when the fire started.
Penelope Evans, 50, from Battersea, south London, was shopping in Harrods when she noticed the thick smoke as she was leaving.“I saw all this black smoke coming from the sky, it was covering everything and the smell was horrendous,” she said.
“It was like people were in shock, everyone immediately just started leaving the street and the area.
“There were hundreds of fire engines, ambulances, police racing by and helicopters overhead.
“After Grenfell, I feel like people are a lot more on edge about these things, people just wanted to get out.”
Tourist Eric Bantug, who was visiting from Las Vegas, spoke of his shock at seeing an historic building in flames..
The 47-year-old financial services worker, visiting from Las Vegas, said: “I was just coming up from the Tube and smelled the fire. I could smell burning.
“When I got up above ground I saw all the smoke coming out of the building. “It’s pretty old and it’s a shame to see it happen.” — BBC Online