Massive blaze engulfs Mandarin Hotel in Knightsbridge

Smoke rises from a building in Knightsbridge central London as London Fire Brigade responded to a call of a fire in this upmarket location Wednesday

London Fire Brigade said it was called to the 12-story Mandarin Oriental Hotel just before 4 p.m. (1500 GMT.) Less than an hour later, 20 engines and 120 firefighters were at the scene, and much less smoke was billowing from the top of the hotel. "Just evacuated Mandarin Oriental hotel to see this. absolutely insane!" wrote Anna Whiteley on Twitter.

The plume was "very visible across central London", London Fire Brigade Station Manager Pam Oparaocha said.

"This is actually happening", a hotel guest wrote, posting a video which saw many fleeing down the fire escape from the burning building.

Smoke rises from a building in Knightsbridge, central London, as London Fire Brigade responded to a call of a fire in this upmarket location, Wednesday June 6, 2018.

A fire broke out at London's Mandarin Oriental hotel on Tuesday, with dozens of firefighters deployed to tackle the blaze that pumped smoke high into the air over the British capital.

'The Brigade's 999 control officers have taken more than 35 calls to the fire, which is producing a lot of smoke.

London Ambulance Service and Metropolitan Police also attended the scene.

In a £185million refurbishment project which started a year ago, the hotel received new bedrooms, public areas, restaurants, dining spaces and a new spa.

Guests and staff were evacuated from the hotel, with no reports of any casualties as firefighters said the cause of the fire is now unknown. The hotel is famous for its restaurant Dinner, run by Heston Blumenthal.

Staff from the hotel were evacuated to Hyde Park where they were given bottles of water.

Penelope Evans, 50, from Battersea, south London, was at the luxury department store Harrods when she noticed thick smoke while leaving.

"It was like people were in shock, everyone immediately just started leaving the street and the area".

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