The Baitul Futuh mosque in South London, the largest mosque in Europe, was ablaze Saturday, with 70 English firefighters battling the enormous fire in attempts to save the significant structure.
The Daily Mail reports that London firefighting agencies had dispatched ten fire engines to take on the massive blaze that erupted at the Baitful Futuh mosque in the South London neighborhood of Morden in the middle of the day on Saturday.
The Baitful Futuh mosque is huge, taking up over five acres in South London with room for over 10,000 Muslim worshippers.
According to the Daily Mail, however, when fire broke out in the Baitul Futuh mosque, the space of Islamic worship was relatively empty, with only a “handful of worshippers” inside the mosque, all of whom were quickly escorted out of the burning mosque.
While the Baitul Futuh mosque emptied, the huge contingent of London-based firefighters arrived in earnest, fearlessly taking on the huge mosque fire in an effort to save Baitul Futuh mosque. Police, ambulance, and other emergency services accompanied the firefighters, the huge effort to save the mosque shutting down roads and backing up London drivers in their motorcars for miles.
According to the the London Fire Brigade, they had contained and cordoned off much of the fire from the mosque’s main area of worship by 6 p.m. This limited the continuing blaze to the Baitul Futuh mosque’s surrounding halls and administrative buildings, successfully saving Baitul Futuh mosque’s worship space, though smoke did at one point completely fill the enormous space.
“This is a large fire and our crews have worked hard in difficult conditions to minimize fire spread within the affected building,” said managing London firefighter, Philip Morton. “Thankfully they have managed to confine the fire to the administrative buildings on the site and the mosque itself is unaffected. We have worked closely throughout the incident with the local community to ensure our damage control operations take full regard of the religious significance of the building’s contents.”
While London firefighters continue to knock down hot pockets of fire in the Baitul Futuh mosque, operations that are expected to continue in the mosque well into Sunday morning, so too are questions of the London mosque fire’s cause being asked.
A local Merton Council leader, Stephen Alambritis, says the Baitul Futuh mosque is a “major landmark” in this area of London, also noting that any damage to the “beautiful building” would be a “big blow” to the community.
As for the Baitul Futuh mosque fire being the result of arson, Mr. Alambritis also notes that the mosque “is a very secure building, which is manned by security staff,” and other causes of the fire could include a cooking mishap and have nothing to do with an arson attack.
“I know from the many times I have been to (Baitul Futuh mosque) how well used and professionally it is run,” said Alambritis.
“Every time I have been there, I have been met at the doors and the people are very visible and friendly. I could not see how any kind of arson could take place but that is for the police and the fire brigade to investigate. I am sure that this community will want to know themselves whether there is any possible arson. It is a very beautiful building and what has happened is very sad. There were no people at prayer at the time. It does seem that evacuation procedures worked.”
Only one man has reportedly been taken to the hospital as a result of the Baitul Futuh mosque fire in London, for smoke inhalation, with nobody else currently believed to have suffered any injury.
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