London

Fire at Marconi House in London's West End

A fire at a well-known building in London's West End has been tackled by about 100 firefighters.

Twenty fire engines were sent to put out the fire on top of Marconi House, at the junction of the Strand and Aldwych, at about 1100 BST.

The blaze, which was brought under control by 1900 BST, affected about a quarter of the 1,076sq ft (100sq m) roof, London Fire Brigade (LFB) said.

Several fire engines with crews will remain at the scene overnight.

There were no reports of people trapped or injured and the cause is unknown.

Up to 12 fire engines and about 50 firefighters are continuing "damping down" activities at the building and a cordon will remain in place through the night, LFB said.

'Taxing conditions'

London Ambulance Service sent paramedics and five specialist hazardous area response team units as a precaution.

The fire at the building - which was the site of the first BBC broadcast in 1922 - sent smoke across the London skyline.

Earlier, London Fire Brigade station manager Tom Goodall said: "Crews are working really hard in hot and taxing conditions to bring this fire under control.

"There is a lot of smoke in the local area and we are asking people to keep their windows closed.

"The building, which is under refurbishment, was evacuated quickly and there are no reports of any injuries."

It caused major disruption to traffic in the area, with Transport for London closing parts of the Strand, the Mall and Waterloo Bridge and putting in place diversions.

Traffic diverted

The 10-storey building is being converted to a five-star hotel - named ME London hotel - and 86 luxury flats to a design by Norman Foster's architectural firm.

A spokeswoman for Spanish company Melia Hotels International, which owns the property said: "Pending a final assessment, the extent of the material damage is unknown.

"Melia Hotels International is grateful to the London Fire Brigade for their diligence and responsibility in extinguishing the fire, preventing it spreading to the rest of the building and, above all, avoiding injuries."

The A4 in Aldwych was closed due to the fire, while southbound traffic on Kingsway from High Holborn was blocked.

All traffic from Waterloo Bridge is being diverted down the Strand to Trafalgar Square.

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