In an unfortunate turn of events, a large fire consumed parts of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London. The fire happened just one week after it completed “the most extensive restoration in its 115-year history” in order to “confirm this historic hotel’s position as one of the best in the world,” reported the BBC. The hotel website says that it was a multi-million-pound renovation.
Because the fire was so large, over 120 firefighters and 20 engines responded to the scene. Fortunately, nobody was hurt as 250 hotel staff and 36 hotel guests were evacuated from the building. CNN added that nobody required medical treatment either. A guest, Anna Whiteley, applauded the professionalism of the hotel employees that ensured that everyone evacuated safely, saying that she was “so impressed” by their organization.
Robbie Williams, singer from the band Take That, was at the hotel when the fire broke out. He and his wife were two of the guests that were evacuated. Williams described the chaotic scene.
“I went on the balcony and looked up and there was just billows and billows of smoke… I came back in from the balcony and said, ‘The hotel’s on fire,’ and then the next thing a knock at the door came and there was a bellboy there and they said, ‘Get out.'”
The fire started around 4:00 p.m., and did not spread to the residential apartments located in the building. The fire is reportedly extinguished, but people expect firefighters to remain on the scene overnight.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. However, an investment banker named Gerry Johnson said that “There’s a suggestion the fire started on the roof of the Mandarin, where they have been carrying out building work.”
In addition to the hotel, other buildings nearby including restaurants and stores were also evacuated, reported the Telegraph. A bystander to the scene, Penelope Evans, said that she witnessed the fire and the responders that rushed to the scene.
“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.”
The hotel noted that it’s too early to know the extent of the damages to the building. Displaced hotel guests are being housed in nearby hotels for the time being.
Mandarin Oriental Hotels are located around the world, and their London location has hosted events for the Royal Family in the past. It’s located in an affluent part of London, and was once a gentleman’s club when it first opened in 1889. Around 1899, there was a fire and reopened in 1902 as a hotel for the first time.