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14 injured in London 5-star hotel gas explosion


London, Nov 22 (PTI) At least 14 people have been injured in what is suspected to be a gas explosion at a 5-star hotel in central London, prompting authorities to evacuate over 500 guests from the posh hotel and launch an investigation.

The Churchill Hyatt Regency London in Portman Square near Marble Arch was evacuated following the blast late last night.

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: “At about 11.40pm (GMT) we were called to a suspected gas explosion at Portman Square.¬†Officers are in attendance alongside the fire brigade and ambulance service.

“A small number of injured parties are being treated.”

London Fire Brigade said the explosion happened in the basement of the hotel, causing part of the building to collapse.

A spokesperson said that the explosion is thought to have been caused by a gas leak. Structural engineers have been called to assess the damage in the basement area.

“We were waiting for the emergency services to do their work of getting the injured people out, and we’ll be on scene today investigating to establish the exact cause,” said Jeanette Unsworth, spokesperson for the UK’s National Grid.

London Ambulance Service said five of the injured were taken to hospital, including two with leg wounds.

Fire officers and gas engineers are ensuring the scene is safe so guests can be allowed back into the hotel.

Another nine people who sustained injuries were treated at the scene.

About 80 firefighters were at the scene, including appliances with specialist equipment to deal with collapsed buildings.

London Fire Brigade said at the height of the incident about 500 people were evacuated.

The hotel has more than 400 guest rooms.

A hotel spokesperson said that no guests were harmed, but that 12 staff were treated for injuries.

He said that guests were accommodated in other hotels while the damage was being assessed.

“Hyatt’s top priority is the safety and well-being of our guests and associates, and we are currently working to provide guests with accommodations while we evaluate whether the hotel suffered any significant damage,” he added.

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